Around the World in Christmas Facts

Happy Hogswatch! Or Merry Christmas, if you prefer. It’s that time of the year again when we hold our annual overeating festival and crack out the family disputes over Trivial Pursuit. Or perhaps that’s just us here at Listen and Learn.

Whatever you’re doing, we’d like to extend some Christmas greetings in your general direction. How better for us to do that than with some Merry Christmases in native tongues from around the world? There’s even a sprinkle of our favourite traditions in there too for good measure. Enjoy!

Asia

Mandarin (China) Sheng Dan Kuai Le (圣诞快乐)
Hindi (India) Śubh krisamas (शुभ क्रिसमस)
Indonesian Selamat Natal
Japanese Meri Kurisumasu (or ‘Meri Kuri‘ for short!)
Korean Meri krismas (메리 크리스마스)

Did you know that…

Christmas in Japan is synonymous with a bucket of KFC? For the past four decades, Japanese families have associated the Colonel with Claus himself, so much so that reservations have to be made several weeks in advance. Another tweak with tradition is seen in India, where instead of a fir tree, banana or mango trees are over-decorated in true Christmas spirit.

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Photo via Flickr

Africa

Swahili (Kenya) Krismasi Njema
Zulu (Zimbabwe) Ukhisimusi omuhle
Chichewa (Mozambique) Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha Kristmasi
Dagbani (Ghana) Ni ti Burunya Chou
Malagasy (Madagascar) Tratra ny Noely

Did you know that…

…a traditional treat at Christmas in South Africa includes deep fried caterpillars from the Emperor Moth? Perhaps we’ll stick to the sprouts after all.

North America

Spanish (Dominican Republic) Feliz Navidad
Creole (Haiti) Jwaye Nwèl
Danish (Greenland) Glædelig Jul
French (Quebec, Canada)   Joyeux Noël
Hawaii Mele Kalikimaka (Alright, so technically Hawaii is a part of the United States politically, but we think you’ll allow us this stretch. It is Christmas after all… )

Did you know that…

…Christmas dinner in Louisiana involves Gumbo? We’ll happily give that go! Another tradition in Northern America is Mummering in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. This involves a house to house walk in special costumes and singing, dancing and eating. It sounds like a good time to us. One tradition we’re not so sure about, however, is the posing with Santa and your favorite machine gun. We’re looking at you, Arizona, and we’re asking questions.

South America

Spanish (Argentina) Feliz Navidad
Portuguese (Brazil) Feliz Natal
English (Guayana) Merry Christmas!
Dutch (Suriname) Zalig Kerstfeest
French (French Guiana) Joyeux Noël

Did you know that…

…sometimes traffic jams can be festive? At least that’s how they’re seen in São Paulo and Rio, when people drive past the public Christmas tree displays in Ibirapuera (São Paulo) and Lagoa (Rio) and form long queues of cars. Another Christmas tradition from South America which involves wheels of some sort is seen in Venezuela. Children go to bed with string tied around their big toes and the end dangling out of the windows. On Christmas morning, early mass is attended by roller skate, and passersby pull on the strings. Gently, we hope.

Antarctica

Ah. No actual countries here. Here’s a penguin saying hey though.

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Photo via Flickr

Europe

German Frohe Weihnachten
Finnish Hyvää Joulua
Gaelic (Ireland) Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Polish Wesołych Świąt
Czech Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce

Did you know that…

…A straw Christmas goat in Sweden has been burnt down since 1966? Also, in Germany and Austria naughty children are visited by Krampus. One look at him and we’d behave for the rest of our lives, no questions asked. A couple of other traditions that amuse us in Europe are seen in Norway, where people keep bad spirits at bay on Christmas Eve by hiding all of their brooms, and Ukraine, where Christmas trees are often decorated with festive-looking spiderwebs.

 

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Photo via Wikipedia

Australia

There’s not much snow to be had during an Australian Christmas unless it’s the fake kind. We’re not jealous of seafood barbecues when we’re shivering in our Christmas sweaters, honest. However. Merry Christmas is still Merry Christmas.

Did you know that…

…Christmas bush has become a traditional festive decoration and we must say, it looks very Christmassy to us!

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Photo via Flickr

And from….Elsewhere…

Klingon toDwI’ma’ qoS yItIvqu’ (Our Savior’s birthday you-enjoy!)
Quenya (Elvish) Alassë a Hristomerendë (Joyous Feast of Christ)

Christmas is the time for giving…

So whether you’re arguing over the best accompaniment for mince pies, or are nursing a bruise from a stray arm from Grandma mixing eggnog and Just Dance, we hope you’re having fun. And if it’s all too much and you want an escape, why not contact us and see what courses we have on offer to keep you occupied over the festive season.