Holidays Around the World

Holidays Around the World

We hope you enjoy this trivia about holiday traditions from around the world. Does your family have a yearly tradition? Share in the comments below!

Did you know…

  • In Ukraine, Poland, and other Eastern European countries, spiders are a symbol of Christmas, originating from an old folktale.
  • In Iran, Yalda, or Shab e Cheleh, involves reading poetry, staying up late, and eating pomegranates.
  • In Colombia, the Day of Little Candles or Día de las Velitas may originate from Jewish traditions of immigrants from Spain.
  • In Nepal and Tibet, the Hindu celebration of Dashain is celebrated with gifts, kite flying, and wearing new outfits.
  • In Greece, the equivalent of a Christmas tree is a Christmas boat.

Learn words and phrases

  • Soyal
    • A Zuni & Hopi ceremony that takes place during the winter solstice and celebrates new life as the sun returns and begins to make the days longer.
  • Potlach
    • /pätˌlaCH/ An Indigenous gift-giving feast ceremony that redistributes wealth, traditional of the tribes along the northwest coast of America. Translates to “to give.”
  • Akemashite omedetō
    • Traditional greeting in Japan for Ōmisoka (New Year) and translates to “congratulations on the new year.”
  • Ujima
    • One of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Swahili for “collective work and responsibility” and means to make our community’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Food, a universal language

  • Round fruit is eaten at midnight for good luck on New Year’s Eve in both the Philippines and Spain.
  • Mooncakes are a central item for the Mid-Autumn Festival in both China and Vietnam.
  • Tamales are often eaten during the Latin American celebration of Posadas, commemorating the journey to Bethlehem leading up to Christmas.
  • Sweets like Gajar halwa (a carrot pudding) are eaten during Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated in India and other Hindu cultures around the world.
  • Lentils are eaten on New Year’s Eve in Brazil and Italy and are believed to bring good luck because of their coin-like shapes.
  • Yebeg wot is a lamb stew, often eaten with injera (a spongy flat bread) in Ethiopia during the Christmas holiday season.

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Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office