By: V. Macedo
As most of you may know, Christmas is just around the corner, and I think the whole world is as excited for this year to be over as you and I. One of the most wonderful things on our planet is its diversity; there are thousands of cultures, millions of traditions and billions of people with all kinds of interesting habits, languages, celebrations and more. In this article I will be telling you about some of the most amazing and mesmerizing traditions for Christmas you have ever seen.
The first one is located in the city of San Fernando, Philippines. It is known as the Giant Lantern Festival. The attraction is a contest of huge, intricate and gorgeous lanterns. The Giant Lantern Festival is the symbol of unwavering hope, that is now diversified with creativity and innovation. Due to this festival, San Fernando had been recognized as the ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines’. It takes place the Saturday before Christmas and is called “Ligligan Parul” by the Kapampangan locals and natives. It is a gorgeous tourist attraction as well as a beacon of pride for the Philippines. I am sure we can all agree that this Giant Lantern Festival is an event we all want to watch.
This next tradition is called the Gävle Goat, and it takes place in Gävle, Sweden. Though thousands of people want to see the goat, attempts to break it to pieces have also become a tradition. Kidnapping, hacker attacks, fire and sabotage have all been news headlines surrounding the Gävle Goat in the past. Nobody in the town knows who burns the goat, some suggesting drunk people that see the goat and want to burn it, and some go as far as to theorize the existence of a secret goat burning association. The inauguration of the Gävle Goat happens in the first Sunday of the advent of the year, and it symbolizes the famous Yule Goat, which is strongly associated with the Christmas spirit. There is still no guarantee that the Gävle Goat will be assembled this year, but if it is, let us all hope it stands until after New Year.
Moving on to the Yule Lads, located in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is a tradition that starts 13 days before Christmas. Each night, children place their best shoes by the window, then a Yule Lad comes along and leaves gifts for nice children and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones. They have different names among them and are known to be pretty mischievous. Not only there are 13 different Yule Lads, but the legend also encompasses their mother, father and cat, who are all known for eating naughty children! Fortunately, this scary tale does not affect the positive feelings that come with this tradition.
Another bright holiday is the Cavalcade of Lights, in Toronto, Canada. It initiated to enhance and bring attention to the at the time new City Hall and the Nathan Phillips Square. Not only did it feature fireworks, but it presents the 15 metre Christmas tree, live performances, and a skating party. Sadly, due to the covid-19 virus, it will not be occurring in 2020. Yet we can stay hopeful for the December of 2021!
Moving on to a cosier tradition is the Little Candle’s Day (Día de las Velitas), that takes place in Colombia. It started to honour the Virgin Mary and Immaculate Conception, with people placing candles, paper lanterns and all other kinds of warm and beautiful decorations. With time, the designs of the lights have become more intricate, with some neighbourhoods competing for who makes the most impressive arrangement. Though lanterns sometimes stay up for the whole of December, the official day is December 7th, on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, which is a national holiday. It is known to be the unofficial start of the Christmas spirit.
In conclusion, everywhere has their own unique and beautiful culture, that is worthy of respect, appreciation and politeness from all. So lets cherish our differences and hope everyone has a great holiday!