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Hotéis e Gastronomia

Hotéis e Gastronomia
Hotéis e Gastronomia

Christmas traditions in Europe



Winter has arrived in Europe and with it the cold, the snow and the dark days. But it's also almost Christmas and the holiday is celebrated by most countries around here with different traditions. The most interesting thing about European Christmas - apart from snow (from a Brazilian perspective), of course - is that the countries have different ways of celebrating the most magical time of the year. In this post I wrote a little bit about what Christmas is like in some of the main countries of the old continent.

Germany
Christmas in Germany is a big party! Germans love Christmas and start preparations super early, right after Halloween. One of the main Christmas traditions are the Christmas markets, which are filled with tents selling Christmas decorations and crafts, typical winter foods such as Lebkuchen (a delicious gingerbread cookie!) and hot wine. Germans also celebrate the advent, lighting a candle every weekend during the 4 weeks before Christmas. In addition to the candles, they will gift each other with advent calendars from December 1 to December 24, each day containing a small gift, most of the times being chocolate. On December 6th St. Nicholas Day is celebrated. Traditionally, German children leave their boots and shoes in front of the doors of their houses and when they wake up in the morning they find sweets and goodies inside the shoes.



Italy
In Italy families begin to decorate their homes and set up their Christmas trees on December 8, Immaculate Conception Day. Just like in Germany, Italy also has several Christmas markets including major cities such as Rome, where the opening of the holidays season is celebrated with cannon shots at the Sant'Angelo Castle. Another Italian tradition are the Christmas carols that sing in front of the houses of different neighborhoods in the period called Novena - 8 days before Christmas. The best of Christmas in Italy is that the celebrations only end on January 6, Epiphany! Also for this reason, depending on the Italian region, some children only receive their gifts on that day.


Spain
Christmas in Spain is a big mix of traditions: just like in Brazil, the Spaniards join the "Mass of the Rooster" and eat turkey for dinner. However, after the mass they celebrate Christmas with torches and drums through the cities streets. They also eat 12 grapes, which in some Latin American countries is done as part of New Year's tradition. The Spanish tradition is also slightly similar to the German one, as the children leave their shoes on the balconies or under the Christmas tree waiting for their Christmas presents, which, just as in some regions of Italy, are only received on Epiphany. Funny fact: Santa Claus is not delivering the gifts, they are delivered by The Three Kings. Makes sense, right?



Netherlands
In Holland, the most important day of the holiday season is not Christmas: in the Dutch tradition, St. Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain, and takes a sailing boat with his helpers to Holland in the middle of November, landing in Dutch ports. Then, the day before St. Nicholas Day (December 5), St. Nicholas' helpers fill children's shoes with gifts at night, but only for well-behaved children! Many parents say that St. Nicholas will take badly behaved children to Spain for a year to learn how to behave better. This super-different tradition has been a controversial subject in recent years, since the helpers of St. Nicholas are black, which for some is a too-close reminder of ​​African slaves coming by ship to Europe.


France
The French, like the Brazilians, also decorate their homes with Christmas cribs. Christmas dinner is more typically French: in addition to turkey the French also eat foie gras, oysters and various types of cheeses. The sweets are the chocolate cake "bûche de Noel" as dessert for the supper and "Galette des Rois" on Epiphany. To make everything even more French, the wood logs in the fireplace are lightly sprayed with wine, leaving the aroma of the house even more sophisticated. Oh la la!



Which tradition is most surprising in your opinion?

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Air France, all opinions are mine. Want to partner with Bem Viajada? Get in touch!

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