All around the world, Christmas is a time for celebration and festivity. As we venture further into December, the countdown to the big day has officially begun.
A mug of hot chocolate whilst sat next to a roaring fire, strolling through Christmas markets whilst enjoying a cup of mulled wine, endless games of charades at a gathering with friends, or preparing a magnificent feast for all of your family to savour – sound familiar?

Of course, many families have their own unique ways of celebrating Christmas however, when it comes to celebrating the festive holidays around the globe, it becomes much more diverse.

Whilst some countries celebrate deep-rooted traditions through cultural influences, others have created some unique and wonderful ways to spread the magic of Christmas.

One of the oldest Christmas traditions in the Isle of Man is ‘Hunt the Wren’. People from across the Island’s different communities come together, to dance with a decorated wren pole, whilst accompanied by the song ‘King of all Birds’.

Hunt the Wren is based on a folklore tale about an Enchantress who used to lure Manxmen to harm. She went on to pay the ultimate price, was transformed into a wren and then hunted each year.

Culture aside, this tradition continues to bring the Island’s communities together, creating a sense of belonging.

Across the globe in Asia, Hong Kong has developed its own characteristics and replaced the Turkey-centric Christmas feast, by combining Christmas Day with Valentine’s Day, where people give each other gifts to express their romance and appreciation for one another.

Although it remains unknown as to when it originated, another tradition in Hong Kong is to give apples to family and friends on Christmas Eve. Apple in the Chinese language translates to “Ping guo”, which sounds like peace and so, by eating the apple, it is believed to create a ‘peaceful’ new year.

Oh and don’t be surprised if you see a Santa Claus with a saxophone. It is quirky but apparently common.

Finally, Malta is renowned for its strong religious roots and family orientated culture, but it also has a number of its own Christmas traditions.

Besides the thousands of twinkling lights that line the Maltese streets and the elaborate Christmas banquets they make for the WHOLE family, there is definitely more to Malta when it comes to festive traditions.

Midnight Mass, a cultural tradition where people gather in Maltese churches to witness the Child’s sermon, is delivered by a young boy or girl and considered an honour to the entire family. This is followed by the consumption of traditional Maltese date cakes, mulled wine and the exchange of greetings. The celebration in itself is rather unique.

Another is the growing of vetches (gulbiena), which are sprouts grown from canary seeds and specifically done so as a Christmas decoration in Malta and Gozo.
This live, white decoration is traditionally placed by baby Jesus in the manger, in village Churches, as well as windowsills or any place the plant is allowed to sprawl and hang.

Therefore, in establishing that we don’t all hang stockings above our fire place or eat mince pies during the holiday season, there are many unique and interesting ways that we celebrate Christmas around the globe.

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks!

Wherever and however you choose to celebrate the festive season, we hope you have a wonderful time.

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