Celebrating Old Christmas Traditions & Translating New Ones

Celebrating Old Christmas Traditions & Translating New Ones
Celebrating Old Christmas Traditions & Translating New Ones

Around 2 billion people worldwide will celebrate Christmas each year, gathering together with family and friends to enjoy the season. But not everyone gathers around an evergreen tree, exchanges gifts and eats a traditional meal. We’re spotlighting Christmas traditions and discussing a very unique tradition that began as a marketing campaign.

In America, many people attend church on Christmas Eve, eat ham or roast beef instead of turkey on Christmas Day and open one gift before going to sleep on Christmas Eve. Here are some American Christmas traditions according to Fact Retriever:

  • Facebook research shows that two weeks before Christmas is the most popular time for breakups, while Christmas Day is the least popular.
  • Seattle holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest Christmas tree – a 221 ft. Douglas fir put up at Northgate Shopping Center in 1950.
  • In 1836, Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, while Oklahoma was the last in 1907.
  • More than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent within the U.S. every year.

Many of our traditions in America originated in Europe, although they have been translated a little differently throughout the years. One online article credits Italy with developing the idea that naughty children receive coal in their stocking instead of gifts, and that tinsel, once made of real silver, was invented in Germany in 1610.

While gathering together with family and exchanging presents is generally the main way to celebrate Christmas in any country, here are some unique ways that different countries celebrate according to a Huffington Post article:

  • Deep-fried caterpillars are a South African Christmas delicacy.
  • New Zealanders decorate a pohutukawa instead of an evergreen tree.
  • Families in Poland and the Ukraine decorate their trees with spider webs and spiders because it’s believed that a spider wove Jesus’ blanket in the manger and that they are a symbol of goodness and prosperity.
  • In Estonia, going to a sauna on Christmas Eve is a family tradition.
  • In Great Britain, each family member stirs the Christmas pudding clockwise and makes a wish before it’s cooked.
  • Icelandic children leave a shoe on their windowsill during the 12 days of Christmas and wake up each morning to it filled with sweets and toys.
  • Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7 and wear all white clothes.
  • In Germany, and some American homes, families hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it gets a present.

One of the most unique Christmas traditions in the world occurs in Japan. According to a Smithsonian article, Japanese families celebrate with a bucket of Christmas chicken from KFC. Although only about 1% of the Japanese population is Christian, a wildly popular and successful 1974 marketing campaign made the meal a Christmas staple. “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas!” was the slogan for this campaign and still has lasting effects on Japanese culture.

Translating a simple phrase made KFC a Japanese family Christmas tradition for the last 40 years; a tradition so popular that many patrons order their meal months in advance to avoid waiting in line for hours. Could your next marketing campaign spark an international holiday tradition? ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc. can help you find out. We are a top-of-the-line document translation service company, able to translate any document in any industry into and from any language. Our accredited translators are native speakers of English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch and over 70 other languages. For 30 years, we have translated documents for industries like corporate business, legal, finance, marketing, education, government, advertising, technical, science and research and much more.

Contact us today for a free quote and let us help you connect with your international audience, and who knows, maybe even start a new holiday tradition.