10 of the Most Unique Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas traditions vary from family to family as well as culture to culture! Travel the world with us as we explore unique, quirky and wonderful Christmas traditions across the globe!

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Ghana Traditions: Culture, Customs, & Society

Until its independence, Ghana was known as the Gold Coast. It was renamed Ghana, meaning “Warrior King,” to reflect the ancient Ghana Empire that flourished in West Africa during the 10th century.

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A Little Jhal Muri (Spiced Puffed Rice), Anyone?

Jhal Muri is one of the most common and popular snacks In Bangladesh. Smashed potatoes and egg curry are also popular dishes.

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The Tradition of Rakiire in Burkina Faso

What is Rakiire? Rakiire consists of two people within the same big family or between two different ethnic groups telling jokes that are often very sour and border on insolence.

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Christmas Traditions in Colombia

Officially, Christmas begins on Dec. 7 when Colombian people celebrate Candle Day, an important festivity in which kids and adults join at night to light candles in the streets and windows. Offices and homes are decorated with lanterns and candles that welcome the holiday season. They are also accompanied by fireworks.

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Non-Traditional Family Traditions

Many of Compassion’s sponsors are young families. Our family fits that category with children 9, 6, 5 and 2 years old. Not only do we want to help little ones overseas, my wife and I want our own children to realize the hope-stealing effects of poverty. We want our kids to understand poverty to a point where they’re compelled to do something about it both now and later.

Do you think this way? What traditions have you started in your own home to cultivate an understanding of what the poor go through in the developing world? We’re just starting out, and I know we can get more consistent, but here’s a glimpse of what we do:

  • I made an 8-by-10 print of this picture taken by Tonny Tunya. It’s in our dining room. Occasionally, we pause to see whatever we’re facing through the bright eyes of these children whose playground is a garbage dump in Indonesia. At best, our conversations are speculative. But there’s truth in these talks, too. And our perspective is refined bit by bit.
  • Several children stand happily on a large pile of trash at the city dump where they look for treasures.

  • When we sit down for a meal and make the effort to think about Karen, our sponsored child in the Philippines, and her family, our gratitude to God for the food in front of us grows deeper.
  • We’re moving in the direction of connecting each one of our kids to a different sponsored child. They’ll get to minister and be ministered to through sharing words of hope, art and prayers. Who knows? Maybe our kids will be some of the few of their generation to have a true pen pal.
  • I’m memorizing verses about children and the poor and my son is helping me. I hope that these scriptures sink in for him, too, and that seeing his dad take the time to do this would inspire him.

I’m sure there are many other ways to teach children about poverty through day-to-day life. I’ve heard of kids initiating fund raisers and families who rethink gift-giving at Christmas. Some of these families have even gone on one of Compassion’s sponsor tours to see it all with their own eyes.

Would you take a few moments to share your traditions? It’s OK if you don’t do them 100 percent of the time. None of us do. But we want to. And it’d be great to learn from others. The kids need it. Ours and theirs.

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