Us Americans know how to party. We can get wild, make some noise, and bring the police down on us due to our revelry. When it comes to Christmas time, this holds true. But when compared to other countries’ celebrations of the holidays, ours are not too impressive.
We’ve investigated the best places around the globe to celebrate Christmas. From the glacial reaches of Finland down to the tropics, Christmas is celebrated all over with each culture putting its mark on the holiday. So let’s check out some of these colorful festivities.
- The Bahamas: In these islands, a Mardis Gras-like festival—Junkanoo—takes place the day after Christmas. Most former British colonies celebrated Boxing Day (Dec. 26), but the Bahamas really know how to throw a party. Decked out in colorful masques of possibly West African origins, people flood the streets in a parade of music, dancing, and giant floats. If one day isn’t enough, they often throw another extravaganza on New Year’s Day. If there are Bond fans out there, Junkanoo was featured prominently in Thunderball.
Hawaii: Staying with warmer parts of the globe, we find a month long celebration called Honolulu City Lights. The celebrations include mind boggling light displays throughout downtown. They also throw up a 50 foot Christmas tree at Honolulu Hale (City Hall). Since there’s no snow in Hawaii, Santa rides in on a red outrigger canoe with his elf helpers. And since it’s so warm, a 20 foot tall Santa and his wife dip their feet into fountain water down at City Hall.
- Denmark: Going from the tropics to the bitter cold of Scandinavia we find the festivities of Julaften. It’s name comes from the old Germanic, pagan winter festival ‘Yule’ (hence ‘yuletide carol’). On Christmas Eve, the Danes have a dinner usually consisting of roast pork, roast duck, roast goose or stuffed turkey with potatoes, caramelized potatoes, red cabbage and plenty of brown gravy. To top it off, a desert called risalamande is served. It’s a cold rice pudding dish is served with a hot cherry sauce. But there are also Yule Lunches on Christmas day where lots of beer and snaps gets thrown back along with a wide variety of fish dishes.
- Finland: Even farther north is Finland, which at this time of year is experiencing a lot more night time than daylight. What a more perfect excuse to start the revelry earlier, starting with healthy doses of vodka and fish d’oeuvres. Like its Scandinavian neighbor Denmark, dinners feature a lot of fish and a lot of rice pudding. But for the real adventurous, the crazier place to celebrate Xmas is up in Lapland in the Arctic Circle. The native Sami people know how to get down: they have sleigh rides pulled by reindeer and even games where you lasso a reindeer.
- Greenland: This is only for the most swashbuckling, daring, and adventurous travelers. It is so wintry in Greenland that Christmas trees have to be imported. When it comes to gifts, traditional presents include model sledges, pairs of polished walrus tusks, or sealskin mitts. When it comes to Christmas dinner, they serve some unusual dishes. Mattak is whale skin with a strip of blubber inside. Supposedly it tastes like fresh coconut. To one up mattak’s weirdness, there’s kiviak. This is the raw flesh of little auks—a species of bird—that has been buried whole in sealskin for several months. So the food might be odd, but Greenland is where Santa goes to spend his summer holidays, near the town of Uummannaq.
Dr. Sam Sadati is the owner and practitioner of The Sadati Center of Aesthetic Dentistry in West Palm Beach and a leader in the world of cosmetic dentistry and smile design. He is the only accredited cosmetic dentist in all of South Florida and is one of only forty dentists in the world to receive an Accredited Fellow honor from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Apart from creating beautiful smiles, Dr. Sadati enjoys photography, travel, and the opportunity to tell a good joke. If you have a question or comment, dental-related or otherwise, connect with us on Facebook orTwitter. We always reply to our fans and followers!