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December 10, 2015

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As the year marks a transition quite soon, MeetnGreetMe would like to present to you the findings we’ve gathered from our locals around the world. They kindly shared information about their traditions and customs of celebrating New Year and Christmas.

Whether you come from the eastern or western part of the world, we are always full of enthusiasm when it comes to New Year and Christmas. These holidays give us hope about the future, new achievements and miracles.

New Year’s Day traditions by Edgar from Ukraine

New Year’s Day in Ukraine is celebrated in the same way Christmas is celebrated in many European countries. It is a public holiday, so schools and public offices are always closed.

Among the most important Ukraine Christmas traditions still remain:

  • decorating Christmas trees in people’s houses;
  • receiving presents from Ded Moroz and Snegurochka.

Some people celebrate New Year in their families, while the others prefer to throw parties with their friends.

Edgar shared with us about the way he celebrates this winter holiday:

“On the 31st of December I usually gather all my friends at my place, after this we go to the central square to hang out with the crowd from 11pm till 4am.

As a rule, I usually celebrate these holidays with friends and some random people I don’t even know. The most enjoyable thing for me and my friends is attending sauna and, when hot, going outside to jump into the snow naked.

As for presents, handmade stuff is highly valued. Even little gifts. And it’s never so that you don’t receive any presents at all, at least a bottle of whiskey is always handy.

In my country, New Year and Christmas are completely different celebrations. New Year is about Santa, Coca-Cola, champagne, and partying. And Christmas is a quiet family holiday, usually a peaceful dinner with candles, because it’s only about religious traditions, not partying like in some other countries”.

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New Year’s Eve in Georgia with Mariam

Georgia is, perhaps, the cradle of New Year’s toasts. There is no other place in the world where you would be able to hear so many different creative Christmas wishes sipping a glass of the well-known aromatic Kindzmarauli or Mukuzani.

Mariam, a brilliant Psychology student from Tbilisi, shared all the ins and outs of celebrating New Year and Christmas in Georgia:

“Actually, we have 2 New Years in Georgia. In Tbilisi it is usually celebrated on 31th  of December, just like everywhere else. But in some regions and, especially, in the countryside it is celebrated on the 14th of January. We call this fest “Old New Year”.

At first we meet in our family, at midnight we are at home, sitting at the delicious New Year’s table and enjoying ourselves, sharing the drinks and saying toasts to each other, cheering and smiling. Oh! And we also have this special second day of winter – the 2th of January. It is called ‘Bedoba’ (fating day). It’s important with whom you will be on that day. Then he/she will be your soulmate for the rest of your life”.

There is one fascinating tradition that amazed us most of all:

“The first person who comes in the house after 12 o’clock, who steps in, will be our ”leader”, we call him/her MEKVLE, that means this person’s luck will be ours too. It’s either this person will bring us happiness, or sadness. And if the year is bad,we can blame our MEKVLE for that.”

Georgia

Sweden Christmas traditions with Angelina

Now we are moving to the north, to Sweden.

Despite the fact that the Swedes are famous for their calm personality, they also like to have fun on  New Year’s Day. Unlike in Georgia and Ukraine, New Year is usually celebrated not with one’s family members, but with some friends and acquaintances at a club, pub or in a restaurant.

As for Christmas, one of the biggest events in Sweden is St. Lucia’s celebration on the 13th of December. A youngest daughter in a family dresses in a white dress with a crown of evergreens serves her parents with coffee and Lucia buns. The crown has tall candles on top of it and symbolises the start of new life.

Christmas Eve is also very important in Sweden. Families gathers at one table served with delicious risgrynsgröt or ris a la malta. These are different types of Swedish rice porridge eaten with raspberry jam or whipped cream.

Angelina, a lovely English language teacher, also shared some insights about celebrating Christmas in Sweden:

“Christmas is, of course, more important than New Year. Christmas in Stockholm looks gourgeous and it’s extremely beautiful. On Christmas people usually go to their houses in the countryside and everything is closed in the city.

Skansen’s Christmas market – one of the biggest in Sweden – is held every weekend until Christmas Eve. As a rule, shops are closed for 3 days, so if you’re thinking about doing some shopping in Stockholm on these days – better do it well in advance.

On New Year everyone in Stockholm goes to a concert to a big island – a park with attractions”.

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Merry Christmas in French with Yohann

At last but not least, we are travelling to our locals in France who used MeetnGreetMe quite recently. Yohann kindly agreed to tell us about the way Christmas and New Year is celebrated in the land of croissans, Tour the France, Claude Monet and champagne.

Just like in Sweden, Christmas here is more of a family celebration, where the French gather at a cozy family table with traditional Christmas dinner, say toasts to each other and eat foie gras accompanied with champagne and white wine.

Yohann, a talented musician from France will tell you much more about this wonderful occassion:

“In France, we can celebrate Christmas on the eve or on the very day, it all depends on the families’ habits and people agendas.

We give presents at Christmas sometimes just because you have to visit your father’s family then your mother’s family. 
In the North of France, especially at my place, Opale Coast, we eat “craquelins” (long doughnuts in the shape of a knot) with hot cocoa milk on the eve after Christmas, at midnight we put a “santon” (small statue) of baby Jesus in his crib in a miniature manger.

On the 25th we eat all day long with all the family and sometimes friends, everybody is welcome at the table. 
We usually try to find original presents, or follow the lists given. We also celebrate Christmas with friends on the 26th of December.

New Year’s Eve, though, is all about friends and partying. On the 1st of January, we have another hours’ long meal with my family, but this time with hangover”.

France

Stay tuned for more posts about Christmas and New Year traditions in different countries. The next article will be about local Christmas traditions in Turkey, Slovakia, New Zealand and Vietnam. All fresh from the oven, all coming from our cheerful and helpful locals.

And also we recommend you to tell your story in the comments below and may be the next article will be about your local Christmas tradition.

Come and become part of MeetnGreetMe Community!

Hey, enjoy the rest of your day!

Have an amazing day!

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2 responses to “MeetnGreetMe Presents: Christmas Traditions Around the World (Part 1)”

  1. Mariam Shukakidze says:

    Really interesting! I enjoyed it very much ! ^_^

    1. Juliya Titova Juliya Titova says:

      Mariam, thank you for sharing your story about Christmas traditions in Geogia! We are really happy that you are part of our MeetnGreetMe community. Georgia indeed is a country that can be best learnt from a local because of its unique architecture, and local traditions when it comes to food, crafts and lifestyle.

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