With the start of December, we can all see the festivities around us, be it the blinding street lights on Paradeplatz, Lebkuchen in all the groceries stores, or the Weihnachtsmarkt by the Wassertrum. As an International student, I cannot help but be swayed by this warmth in Mannheim. Christmas is hands down the most commercial festival around the globe, and each country has its way of celebrating it. Starting from my home country, India. Christians are a minority in India, but that does not stop us all from enjoying Christmas, in most urban areas, stores and shopping malls are all dolled up with huge Christmas trees and blinding lights. But the most typical thing for Christmas in India is the Plum cake. While most western countries have the traditional yule cake or the baumkuchken, In India families eat Plum cake, a dense cake made with raisins and holiday spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, mace. Funnily, the only thing missing in the recipe is Plums.
Whereas in Japan the most traditional Christmas dinner is a KFC chicken bucket. This weird food tradition dates to a Successful 1970s Marketing campaign by the first KFC in Japan “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii”, Kentucky for Christmas. Since then, families enjoy KFC on the 24th of Dec, which records KFC’s largest Sales.
But Christmas is not all about sweets and goodies. There is also a dark side to it, especially with Krampus. Legend says that it is an evil creature that kidnaps and eats naughty children. Many towns in Austria (and neighbouring countries), especially the alpine villages around Salzburg and Tyrol, celebrate Krampusnacht on December 5th, when dozens of men dressed as the half-goat demon parade through the streets brandishing sticks and terrorising children.
We have all dreamed of having the perfect White Christmas, but for people living in the southern hemisphere, Christmas has a whole different vibe. Celebrating summer and Christmas is something unimaginable for me but, Beach and Barbeque are how Australians celebrate Christmas. While in Venezuela, people roller-skate for Christmas. Parts of Caracas are even blocked off, so everyone can safely skate to church. These crazy different traditions tell us one thing, one thing only, which is… there is no right way of celebrating Christmas. I mean you can pick and choose which of these traditional things you want to incorporate for your Christmas or even make your own Christmas traditions.
Apart from these old traditions, nowadays we also have newer Christmas traditions such as organizing Secret Santa or making a Christmas family Card or having an Adventskalender or watching the new holiday movie, most of them popularized thanks to American Media.
Talking about the traditions, for the first time in my life I have an Adventskalendar! And you bet I enjoy opening my Adventskalender every day. The joy of finding mini presents or sweets every day till Christmas is so heart-warming and cute who would not want to partake? Given the variety of Adventskalender, I believe there is one out there for everyone of us. Also, it helps take off some exam stress we are all going through. So, I hope you all have a great Holiday season and I wish you the best for the coming Exam season.
-by Simran Biliye