Are you familiar with the following international Christmas traditions? Merry Christmas!


Our Twitter Christmas calendar @rajayhteyspiste gathered together Christmas trivia from all over the world. Our country-specific pages feature additional information on using healthcare services in more than 50 different countries. Peaceful Christmas season to all!

  1. In France, Christmas dinner is topped off with the yule log, “la bûche de Noël”.
  2. The Norwegians ease themselves into the Christmas holidays with abundant and extensive “julebord” lunches. The tradition is also popular at workplaces.
  3. The Mexicans celebrate a nine-day posada, or Christmas pilgrimage. During this time, people carry around Joseph and Mary dolls, searching for a symbolic inn.
  4. The Islandic Christmas tradition includes 13 mischievous yuletide-lads known as “jólasveinar”. These pranksters, including the Door-Slammer and the Bowl-Licker, distribute gifts into shoes children have placed on window sills.
  5. Spend the Christmas night in Portugal, and you may witness a “Madeiro do natal” Christmas bonfire, intended to warm the feet of baby Jesus.
  6. Going to the sauna is an important part of the Finnish Christmas traditions. Finns carefully prepare for the Christmas sauna and the bathing is done quietly so as to not upset the sauna elf. After the sauna, Finns like to cool down by rolling in snow.
  7. In Belgium, Zwarte Piet, the helper of Sinterklaas, may put naughty children in his bag and take them with him back to Spain. Oh dear!
  8. The Australian Christmas is spent in the heat of summer, often outdoors. Father Christmas takes off on his round on a surfboard or perhaps his sleigh is pulled by kangaroos.
  9. In Italy, the nativity scene is an important part of Christmas. In addition to miniature statues decorating the manger scene, there are also live nativity scenes where the Christmas characters are portrayed by people and animals.
  10. The German Christmas markets go back hundreds of years and are full of Christmas spirit.
  11. The Danes are among the most enthusiastic Christmas celebrators in Europe and spend opulently on decorations, lights and Christmas trees. Roast duck is the star of their Christmas dinner.
  12. In Greece, a Christmas sail boat made of paper or wood and decorated with lights is a traditional ornament found by the front door or the fireplace.
  13. In Sweden, the Lucia maiden is the bearer of light in the dark Christmas season. In the Lucia day processions held on 13 December, Lucia, dressed in white and bearing a crown of candles, sings to the audience.
  14. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on 5 December, the eve of Saint Nicholas’ Day, and enjoy spiced pepernoot cookies. Prettige Kerstfeest!
  15. The traditional Chilean Christmas drink “Cola de Mono”, or “the tail of the monkey”, is made of milk, coffee, liqueur and cloves.
  16. The traditional Estonian Christmas dinner includes black sausage, sauerkraut and roast pork. The Christmas table is full throughout the night, as food is also left out for the elves.
  17. According to Czech superstition, if you threw a shoe over your shoulder on Christmas Day and the toes end up pointing towards the door, you will soon be married.
  18. The people of Great Britain long for white Christmas. According to official definition, Christmas is considered white if within the 24 hours of Christmas Day even a single snowflake is spotted somewhere in Britain.
  19. Spanish children look forward to the arrival of the kings, i.e. the Three Wise Men (los Reyes Magos) on Epiphany. The Wise Men prefer to arrive from the sea and bring with them gifts for children.
  20. The Americans treat themselves to Christmas pies that are stuffed with squash, apples, pecan nuts and other delicacies. Eggnog is a sweet Christmas drink.
  21. In Ireland (and in the UK) sports competitions are a part of the Christmas holidays. On Saint Stephen’s Day (known as Boxing Day in the UK) people gather to football matches or horse races.
  22. In Bulgaria, Christmas dinner should include an odd number of courses and people. Salt, pepper and sugar all count as separate courses! The Christmas meal is vegetarian and includes nuts that are cracked to predict the future.
  23. In Russia, a celebration resembling Christmas is held during the New Year holidays. Ded Moroz “Grandfather Frost” (Дед Мороз) and Snegurochka “Snow Maiden” (Снегурочка) arrive on a traditional horse-drawn troika.
  24. According to an old Croatian tradition, men give their girlfriends a decorated apple for Christmas. Merry Christmas, Sretan Božić!

(Photos: Pixabay)