By: India Helzer

We all know of the typical American Christmas traditions: cookies for Santa, Christmas dinner with a turkey, and putting up ornaments on the tree. But have you heard about the vegetable carvings in Mexico or Japan’s obsession with Kentucky Fried Chicken?

In Ukraine there is a legend about a family who grew their own  Christmas tree. The children were planning out how to decorate the tree but since the family was poor, the tree could not be decorated. The next day the children found gold and silver silk spun by the spiders. Now Ukrainians decorate their trees with spiders to bring good luck in the coming year.

In Italy instead of Santa Claus they have an ugly but kind witch named Befana. On the night of January 5th she flies around the world on her broom and goes down the chimney to deliver gifts to well behaved children. Speaking of Santa, in San Francisco there’s a large gathering of people dressed up as Santa Claus. Every participant must be addressed as “Santa”.

KFC has made big strides in Japan during recent years. Every Christmas Eve, many Japanese citizens flock to the restaurant for a fried chicken dinner. This choice might seem a little strange, but since Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, the standards for dinner are not quite as high, though they still want to join in the fun that takes place in the western world.

Do you go to Christmas Eve Mass? If so, have you ever considered roller-skating to your church? Well, in Caracas, Venezuela many streets are closed off and families grab their skates on their way to Mass.

Throughout the whole world, there are many fun traditions for the same holiday. I think it is important to know about them so we can celebrate our differences while we celebrate one of our similarities. Christmas brings people together even in the different ways we may take part in the festivities.