Reasons Why You Should Celebrate the Holidays Abroad!

Russia during christmas
Every country around the world celebrates the holidays differently, making each of them unique and interesting.

Have you ever experienced Russia during its winter Christmas? Or the Philippines during the “Ber” months?

Christmas is celebrated differently in every country. Some countries share similar traditions, mainly due to historical reasons. Others have their own special and unique ways of observing the holidays.

Two shining examples would be Russia and Ukraine, both of which celebrate their Christmas on January 7th but have different practices. They are similar in the way they view Christmas as a strongly religious, even superstitious, affair. Fortune-telling is still practiced in Russia while Ukrainians drink holy water from the church to start their fast for Sviata Vecheria.

A lot of people aren’t aware that some countries celebrate Christmas that much later than others. None of them know about the Julian calendar, which is the old calendar for the Orthodox Church. So imagine flying out to celebrate Christmas abroad and finding out too late that you’ll have to wait till January for the real celebration to begin.

That’s a waste of money and time!

Which is why before traveling to any country, you need to do your due diligence. You always have to do research first before you decide to travel to a certain country, otherwise you get into a lot of trouble. And since we are at the cusp of the holiday seasons, we’re going to learn what other countries do when it’s Christmas!

The Philippines

person with christmas decorations
Certains countries in Asia celebrate Christmas as early as September because they want the holidays to last long.

People in the Philippines like to celebrate their holidays as long as they can. As soon as September starts, the holiday season starts too. Everything will already have decorations by the time September walks in and the streets will be filled with Christmas lights and cheer.

You can also bet that prices will suddenly become higher or lower, depending on which kind of “discounts” the malls will dish out.

It doesn’t end after Christmas day either. It only ends after the Feast of the Three Kings on January’s first Sunday. So that’s basically 4 whole months and a few days of the holiday season.

And because the Philippines is a Catholic country, they practice a 9-day series of dawn masses called Simbang Gabi in anticipation for December 25th. They attend masses at dawn and then come in droves, forming huge crowds inside and outside the churches.


Colombia has the Day of the Little Candles, which they call El Da de las Velitas. It’s as early as December 7th because Colombians like to celebrate early as well.

If you’ve seen photos of what that looks like, you know that December 7th and 8th are days to look forward to in Colombia.

When night comes, the streets are filled with candles and paper lanterns. Almost every inch of surface is decorated with candles, like sidewalks, porchways, balconies and driveways. It creates a picture-esque look, filled with color as they greet the night with warm light from these candles, hence the name Day of the Little Candles.

Also, on that night, families and friends will get together to pray and then wait for midnight to come so they can open presents.

a couple opening presents
Gift-giving is very common around the world during the holidays, but some countries add their own twist to it.

As you can imagine with Latinos and how they celebrate, parties are held until sunrise on the 8th, which is their Christmas day. Kids stay up late to play with their presents. Not to mention the fireworks and how everyone anticipates it.

This practice started in 1854, when Pope Pius IX went on to declare the official doctrine of the Catholic Church to be the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. This makes the entire thing significant to religion, yet they still celebrate the festivities like everyone else in the world.


Peru has Nativity scenes, also known as Nacimientos, that happen during the holiday season. Every year, they hold a Nacimiento competition at the Instituto Cultural Teatral y Social in which people from all around the country compete to portray the birth of Jesus.

The competition, which started in 2005, produces a variety of unique Nativity scenes that incorporate elements from Peru’s various regions.

The holiday tradition in Peru dates back to 1535. Much like some Latin countries and the Philippines, this country has a long history because Peru practices Catholicism. The major day for Christmas celebrations is December 24th, also known as La Noche Buena, or “Good Night.”

They will have a huge mass on Christmas Eve and after that, they all return home to the feasts they have prepared in the morning and afternoon. They generally cook lots of food before going to mass together, so that when they return, the food will be ready to be eaten.

They will then open gifts that have also been prepared beforehand. Adults will drink alcoholic beverages while the kids toast with hot chocolate. For the feast, their cuisine usually consists of turkey, tamales, salads, applesauce, and a sweet bread called Panettone.

A lot of them will also go out to watch the fireworks, which are almost always present on any holiday season.


If you’re going away for Christmas, a great place to pick is Thailand. A holiday abroad is never a fun holiday without shopping and Thailand has that in spades.

Granted, this country is 90% Buddhists so they don’t really have Christmas as a national holiday. Still, they celebrate it because they’re an accommodating bunch and love the thought of this holiday as well.

Of course, they have the same decorations, for the remaining Catholic percentage in the country. Their shopping district is especially really big on their sales, since they can and will take advantage of the commercial holiday.

As far as foreign holidays go, Thailand during this season will make sure that you aren’t left without nice and expensive presents to give to your loved ones.

Have your holidays abroad!

It’s not as fun to do the same thing over and over again. You’ve been celebrating your holidays the same way since you were born. It’s time to change that and experience something else this year.

Visit these countries this year and the next if you wish. The holiday season doesn’t happen all the time. Instead of looking at the pretty pictures, why not see the world for yourself?

Do it with your family or do it with your partner-- do it with people you love.

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