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How Christmas Is Celebrated Around The World?

Servant Life is blessed to serve in many countries around the world each year with our ministry partners. Here are just a few ways Christmas is celebrated around the world!

Cuba - Christmas in Cuba is celebrated with a mix of traditional and unique customs. While it's not a public holiday, many Cubans observe it as a festive time with family gatherings, feasts, and decorations. Nativity scenes, known as "pesebres", are common, and some neighborhoods host communal celebrations. Additionally, the holiday season often includes music, dance, and fireworks, contributing to a lively atmosphere.

Kenya - In Kenya, Christmas is a joyous occasion celebrated with a blend of Christian traditions and local customs. Many Kenyans attend church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, followed by festive meals with family and friends. Traditional dishes like nyama choma (grilled meat) and pilau (spiced rice) are often enjoyed. Decorations, carol singing, and exchanging of gifts are also part of the festivities. Additionally, some communities engage in dances and cultural performances to mark the holiday season.

Bulgaria - In Bulgaria, Christmas is a significant cultural and religious celebration. The festivities typically begin on Christmas Eve, known as "Badni vecher". On this evening, families gather for a festive dinner that includes traditional dishes like "koledna pitka" (Christmas bread) and "svinski meso s zele" (pork with sauerkraut).

After the meal, Bulgarians participate in various customs, such as breaking the Christmas bread for good luck. Carolers, known as "koledari", visit homes singing Christmas songs and wishing prosperity. The midnight church service is an essential part of the celebration, followed by a symbolic breaking of bread at home.

On Christmas Day, families continue to enjoy special meals, exchange gifts, and spend time together. The festive atmosphere often extends through the New Year's celebrations.

Peru - In Peru, Christmas is a vibrant and family-oriented celebration that combines Catholic traditions with indigenous customs. Christmas Eve, known as "Nochebuena", is particularly important. Families gather for a festive dinner featuring traditional dishes like roasted turkey, tamales, and panettone.

Many Peruvians attend the "Misa de Gallo" or Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, followed by fireworks and festive music. The exchange of gifts usually takes place after the midnight service.

In some regions, especially in the Andes, there are unique customs like the "Fiesta de Santuranticuy", a Christmas market in Cusco where people buy nativity scene figurines. Additionally, lively street celebrations, music, and dancing contribute to the festive atmosphere throughout the Christmas season in Peru.

Mexico - Christmas in Mexico is a festive and colorful celebration with a unique blend of cultural and religious traditions. The Christmas season, known as "Navidad", officially begins on December 16th with the start of the "Posadas". These processions reenact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem, with participants going from house to house seeking entrance.

Christmas Eve, or "Nochebuena", is a key night for celebrations. Families gather for a late-night feast that often includes traditional dishes like tamales, bascalao (salted cod), and ponche (fruit punch). Many Mexicans attend Midnight Mass, known as "Misa de Gallo", which is followed by fireworks and festive music.

The exchange of gifts takes place at midnight, and Christmas Day is often a time for more family gatherings, feasting, and enjoying the festive atmosphere. Nativity scenes, piñatas, and decorations add to the vibrant and joyous spirit of Christmas in Mexico.

Ready to serve in one of the countries above? Check out our website for all of our 2024 mission trip opportunities!

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