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We just celebrated Christmas, and New years is just around the corner. But we don’t always realize holidays are celebrated different in other countries. I was talking to my buddy the other day and we were talking about the holidays. He is from Spain and I’m from Belgium. Those two countries are not that far away from each other, but there are some differences.

Belgian habits during the holidays.

In Belgian we celebrate Christmas with our family and buy gifts for each other. Most of the time we do secret Santa and buy a gift for the person that’s assigned to us. We eat meat, vegetables and croquettes. What we also do in Belgium is send Christmas cards to people close to us. Even people we’re able to see during the holidays.
On new years eve we celebrate with family or friends. On January first children read there new years letters for there family and get presents. At night we celebrate and we countdown till 12 o’clock to wish everyone a happy new year and give them 3 kisses. Young people usually celebrate with friends and party.

Spain’s habits during the holidays.

Christmas in Spain is similar to Christmas in Belgium. They celebrate with their family and eat together. They also buy gifts for each other. People in Spain send their Christmas cards to people they’re not able to see during the holidays. If you do see each other, you can wish someone happy holidays in person, says the Spaniard. When you’re in Belgian for a couple of months as an international student you look forward to go back to your country and see your family again. I was happy to hear my buddy was having fun seeing his family and friends again. He especially missed his cousins.
On new year’s eve they do this thing called the twelve grapes. Right before the clock hit’s twelve they count down just like we do in Belgium. But the last twelve seconds they eat a grape every second that goes by. They each have a stick with 12 grapes on it and try to eat all of them before midnight. When you’re able to eat all twelve grapes, you’re going to have a great year. My buddy told me they do this tradition with lots of people together on a large square.

What’s the holidays like in other countries?

There are some special traditions in other countries too. In England and America people hang a mistletoe. This branch means people who stand under it get a kiss. In Spain the day of the 3 wise is celebrated. Children walk around with lanterns and get candy. My buddy told me about this day. He said it’s a day to look forward too. In Sweden the goat is a symbol for Christmas. You can see goats made of straw everywhere. In Iceland children get to place their shoe by the window for 13 days and get presents from Santa everyday during this period. When they have been bad they get rotten potatoes.