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Festive Worldwide Celebrations

Most of us have now finished work and school for the year which marks the start of the festive period and a journey to visit friends and family members. As it is Christmas Eve, the festive tunes and tasty nibbles in the office have got us thinking as to what other seasonal traditions there are across the globe.

Here in the UK, we pull crackers, wear paper party hats, and devour roast dinners and Christmas pudding; however, if like us you're feeling festive, take a look below to learn what others will be doing to celebrate.


Compared to the UK's roast dinner, Iceland have a rather strange Christmas tradition called éžorláksmessa - The mass of Thorak. The tradition is dedicated to Thorlakur Thorhallsson who was the saint that died on December 24th 1193. This takes place on December 24th and involves eating rotten skate (fish) but the catch is that is has to be really, really rotten - The worse the better.

The fish themselves tend to make the whole neighborhood smell bad but we reckon that it makes you appreciate a good meal afterwards!


On Christmas Eve in Germany, the tradition involves eating a delicacy of potato salad with bockwurst (a huge frankfurter sausage!) After the meal, many people would go to church although in recent years, many younger people have swapped the church service for spending time with friends and family at the pub for drinks and good food.


At Christmas, there's nothing quite as festive as watching Donald Duck... if you're a Swede. Every year since its first broadcast in 1959, this Christmas special episode is aired on December 24th at 3pm. The English title of the episode is called "œFrom all of us to you", or in Sweden "œKalle Anka och hans vé¤nner é¶nskar God Jul: "Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas."

The show itself is a collection of various clips from the early Walt Disney era and is presented by none other than Jiminy Cricket; but what is perhaps the most confusing thing about this show is that only a couple of them are related to Christmas. However, this is a firm Swedish tradition that requires your full attention, with many families re-arranging their days to fit around the show's time slot.

United States of America

In America, there is a tradition of an 'orphan holiday' which involves those who grew up in one place but now live in another. The idea is that when everyone else goes home for the festive period, the 'orphans' arrange a huge get-together and have a meal.

Exchanging gifts is also a common element of the tradition, otherwise known as a 'White Elephant Party' - everyone is required to bring one item from their home that is in good condition, wrap it up and give it away. What makes this a little more different is that if you don't like the look of your unopened present, you can choose to steal another one that has already been opened. If you choose to steal, the person that was stolen from gets to choose another gift or steal as well.

Test your language skills!

Whether you're at home or currently on a travelling adventure, why not impress others with your linguistic skills by saying 'Merry Christmas' in one of these languages:

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from the entire team at Alpha Travel Insurance!

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