Explore Christmas traditions across the world

South Africa boasts a unique culture that differs greatly from a traditional snowy white Christmas. With our tropical climate and outdoor inspired cuisine comprising braais and picnics, we look forward to cold beverages and parties where air-conditioning is an essential. To get into the festive mood, we have put together a few Christmas traditions celebrated across the world.

Christmas in the Philippines

A much longer season, Christmas in the Philippines is celebrated from as early as September when extravagant Christmas displays include lights going up and festivals beginning. On Christmas eve families come together to attend the final mass and eat from an enormous feast called Noche Buena. Christmas treats include colorful fruits and rice cakes called ‘bibingka’. As a vibrant nation, the Philippines have 8 official languages and in one of them; Tagalog, you can wish a friend Happy/Merry Christmas by saying ‘Maligayang Pasko’.

Christmas in Greece

A much-loved old tradition of decorating boats is still a popular custom in the country. Dating back to 1833, the tradition began with King Otto erecting the first Christmas tree next to a boat that was decorated to welcome back the men that were sent on sea voyages. Christmas cuisine included roasted lamb or pork served with a range of salads, vegetables, cheese pies or spinach. In Greek Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Kala Christougenna’.

Christmas in Japan

Although Christmas in Japan is not celebrated as an official religious holiday, this festive day has become incredibly popular over the years. One tradition that stands out are the dinners that families host by eating fried chicken together instead of an array of homemade meals. Through an advertising campaign in 1974 known as ‘Kentucky for Christmas’, the international brand KFC has become the most popular choice for a Christmas dinner! In Japanese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Meri Kurisumasu’.

At Pebble Beach, our Christmas traditions remain true to South African culture. A range of roasts on a rotisserie, potjiekos or an evening braai followed by a yummy malva pudding is what we’re looking forward to this Christmas! Embrace your South African routes while also creating your own family traditions over this festive period.

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