It’s not yet clear what Christmas 2020 will look like in the UK. Indeed, we might not all be driving home for Christmas this year. Many experts warn we could still be facing a Tier 3 socially distanced holiday this year – despite Boris Johnson’s insistence that there will be no extension to the month-long lockdown the government enforced in early November.
We thought it might be interesting to see how Christmas preparations around the world are shaping up. Let’s take a look at the most unusual celebrations across the globe.
A socially distanced Christmas in the UK?
If a UK-wide lockdown is extended past the originally slated end date of December 2nd, as many experts are warning, it would mean that countless Brits wouldn’t be able to travel at Christmas to see their family. Of course, those that live in the same household would still be able to celebrate together.
Unusual Christmas celebrations around the world
If the news of a potentially lonesome Christmas is getting you down, perhaps these fun and quirky ways to celebrate the festive season from around the world will remind you of what’s so great about the festive season — at least through a different cultural lens.
Roller skating to mass – Venezuela
In Caracas, Venezuela, there is a delightful tradition where the streets are pedestrianised before 8am in the week running up to Christmas. This isn’t so people can walk freely – no, it’s to allow churchgoers to roller-skate to mass!
The idea is that children tie a piece of string around their toes before going to sleep and dangle the other end out of their window. As the skaters roll past on Christmas morning, they tug at the strings to let the children know that it’s time to wake up, because the big day has finally arrived.
Beware of witches – Norway
In Norway, it has become a tradition to hide brooms, mops and brushes on Christmas Eve. This isn’t due to an aversion to cleaning, but because Norwegians of yore believed witches and spirits would come out at night on Christmas Eve to wreak havoc.
By hiding anything vaguely broom-shaped, Norwegians pay tribute to their ancestors every Christmas. In addition to hiding brooms, sometimes logs are burned in fireplaces to prevent witches from coming down the chimney, but where that leaves Santa, we don’t know.
Lucky spiders – Ukraine
An old Ukrainian tale centres on a widow and her children who, once upon a Christmas, found a Christmas tree growing in their garden. As they were poor, they couldn’t afford to decorate the tree.
As legend has it, they decided to bring the tree inside to create a festive mood instead. When they woke on Christmas morning, to their surprise, they found that a beautiful spider’s web was covering the tree.
Then, one of the widow’s children opened a window and the sunlight shone on the tree, transforming it into silver and gold.
Modern Ukrainians to this day sometimes decorate their trees with plastic spider webs, to pay tribute to the widow and her children.
Understanding cultural differences is key for global brands
It might seem unusual to some that Christmas traditions vary so much around the world. But, if something so familiar can be so subtly different in countries around the world, what other nuances could your brand be missing about the overseas markets you operate in?
That’s why our translators are always native speakers. They are also local to the market you are operating in, so they understand the language nuances and the cultural norms of the society they’re writing for.
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