Holiday Traditions Around the World

With so much to celebrate in December -- from hashtag holidays to religious ones and everything in between -- we thought we'd drop some knowledge on how various holidays translate around the world. In America we start cranking Christmas music at Halloween and Santa and reindeer abound. But, did you know in Australia (according to our resident Australian, Taylor), everyone gets a new swimsuit? (When Taylor says it with an Australian accent it's "swimmahs") Despite the fact we associate the season’s holidays with colder weather, that’s not the case down under. Since it is summer there, everyone puts on their new swimmahs and heads for the beach! In England instead of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, children leave mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas. In Reykjavik there is not one but 13 Santas, known as Yule Lads. One arrives each night in the 13 days before Christmas, leaving small gifts in shoes left in window sills. While we celebrate the American tradition of hangovers and swearing we'll never talk to our families again on the day after Christmas, in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, December 26 marks Boxing Day, complete with soccer matches and horse races. The Irish refer to the holiday as St. Stephen’s Day, and they have their own tradition called hunting the wren, in which boys fasten a fake wren to a pole and parade it through town. The Bahamas celebrate Boxing Day with a street parade and festival called Junkanoo. New Year’s Eve finds Americans drinking Champagne and standing in the freezing cold of Times Square waiting for a ball made of 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon LEDs to drop. In Japan, they celebrate Ōmisoka, when families gather for one last time in the old year to have a bowl of toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon, a tradition based on eating the long noodles to cross over from one year to the next. At midnight, many visit shrines or temples for Hatsumōde. Shinto shrines prepare amazake to pass out to crowds and most Buddhist temples have large cast bells that are struck once for each of the 108 earthly desires believed to cause human suffering. No matter how or where you celebrate this month, all of us here at Liz Lapidus Public Relations wish you a happy holiday season!

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