Traditions Across the World and How COVID Has Impacted Them
Giant Lantern Festival-San Fernando, Philippines
This annual festival is typically held on the Saturday before Christmas in San Fernando. The festival usually commences with a lantern competition, where all parols are judged, and the best are named. Although this has been a long-standing tradition, it has never disappointed anyone. Without COVID-19 restrictions, this festival would attract and enchant many foreigners and local citizens alike. Alfrito Mah, president of the Giant Lantern Festival, has definitely valued citizens' health over the hosting of this annual competition. Instead of a competition, the organizers have decided to display an exhibition instead.
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Kentucky Fried Dinner-Japan
Japan has yet to familiarize itself with Christmas celebrations but is now evolving towards implementing secular traditions towards their holiday season. Although lacking in many religious traditions, a secular, idiosyncratic tradition expanding is the Kentucky Fried Dinner, which features Japan's local Kentucky fried chicken.
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On the days foreshadowing Christmas, thirteen mischievous troll-like characters with unique names emerge and play with the children.
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Saint Nicholas' Day--Germany
Nicholas is understood to have utilized a donkey/horse as his mode of transportation. As he is travelling on his donkey, he leaves behind compact gifts for children who have been good throughout the year in their shoes, which are left on their doorsteps on Christmas Eve. These presents may include gold coins, oranges, and chocolate. The children, in return, may leave carrots for his horse.
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Cavalcade of Lights-Toronto, Canada
Cavalcade of Lights, similar to the Great Lantern Festival, is an annual tradition. This event marks the initiation of the holiday season. These lights are lit up throughout December until New Year, with a fascinating 300000 LED lights. Spectacular fireworks are also open to amaze your eyes and ears. However, this year due to COVID-19 and the rise in case numbers, the city of Toronto has extended the cancellation of all outdoor events previously endorsed by the city, including the Cavalcade of Lights.
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Hanukkah/Festival of Lights
Every year in December, Jewish families honour and commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. During the Hanukkah, A significant ritual commemoration is the lighting of the menorah. As Jewish families light the candle, they recite a prayer, further praising God. The lighting of the menorah represents knowledge and an eternal flame, which symbolizes wisdom (Britannica).
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Nativity, otherwise known as the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated by the majority of Christians. Many families use figurines to create a nativity scene in their living room or even their front yard. Christmas is the date the doctrine has assigned to celebrate Christ's birth, although he may not have necessarily been born on that exact date.
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Day of the Little Candles --Columbia
This is another day that signals the beginning of the holiday season. The Day of Little Candles is in place to honour the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception
Universal Tracking Santa
For many years, families worldwide have been following google's Santa tracker, which tells one Santa's approximate location and estimated arrival time. As children follow his tracker, they anxiously await Santa's arrival.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
The white elephant gift exchange has become more and more common throughout the years. It involves the random giving of gifts. Players draw a number or roll a dice to determine who will be the first to open the gift. Participants will then open their gifts on the spot.
Virtual Events You Can Participate in this Holiday Season
One of a Kind
'One of a Kind' is a Christmas market that can connect you with more than 700 small businesses. This is a great opportunity to purchase some holiday gifts while supporting small businesses during these difficult times.
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City of Toronto. (2020, November 03). Cavalcade of Lights. Retrieved December 11, 2020,
Menora. (2011). Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/menorah
Jeeves, R. J. (2020). White Elephant Gift Exchange.
Taylor, K. T. (2017, December 25). How KFC made Christmas all about fried chicken — in Japan.
Article Author: Michelle Xiao
Article Editors: Maria Giroux, Stephanie Sahadeo