//Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in…
Tradiciones de navidad y año nuevo en EE.UU

Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in…

One of the things that characterize the human being are their traditions. Traditions are how culture manifests itself. Today we will talk about Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in those countries where Gustavo Mirabal has been, and in some others.

Gustavo Mirabal has had the opportunity to enjoy Christmas and welcome a new year in different countries.

Thanks to his travels, his international clients and the headquarters of his company, Gustavo Mirabal knows the Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in Spain, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

Of course, he knows the Christmas traditions of Venezuela thanks to his younger years with his family.

That is why we will start with the Christmas traditions of Venezuela and continue with the other countries.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

New Year's Traditions in Canada, the USA and Japan | Cultural Awareness | ESL Conversation

Christmas and New Year’s Eve Traditions in Venezuela

In Venezuela it is a custom that on Christmas Day a Christmas dinner is held. In this way the family gathers to share an intimate moment.

Christmas dinner is full of typical Venezuelan Christmas dishes.

This time is also to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. Recall that Christians consider that the birth of the baby Jesus occurred from December 24 to 25. The 24th is Christmas Eve.

On the morning of December 25, the children get up to open their presents and share the joy of Christmas.

In Venezuela it is considered that the one who brings the gifts is “the baby Jesus”. These gifts are placed next to the manger and the Christmas tree.

The Venezuelan manger is a representation of the moment when the baby Jesus will be born. There we will find typical animals of the Venezuelan idiosyncrasy, Mary, Joseph, and the Magi.

The fact of placing the baby Jesus on December 25 is almost always respected.

The Venezuelan manger - Christmas and New Year's traditions in Venezuela
The Venezuelan manger – Christmas and New Year’s traditions in Venezuela

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Venezuela

In Venezuela, the end of the year is a family party. In many countries, meetings are held in salons with strangers. But Christmas in Venezuela and the New Year’s Eve reception is an intimate family affair.

On December 31, the family gathers for another Christmas dinner (yes, another dinner, Venezuelans like to eat).  Usually dinner is served the Christmas dish consisting of hallaca, ham bread, pig leg, and chicken salad.

Without a doubt it is a time to share with those closest to you.

At that time hugs are given between family members wishing the others a happy new year. Some also have the tradition of going out with their bags to take a walk around the block to invoke a trip for next year … The coronavirus shattered some illusions this year without a doubt.

The most important thing is that this moment is to see with joy and optimism the year that is beginning. Beautiful traditions that Venezuelans take wherever they go.

Together the arrival of the new year is expected. On the radios you can hear the countdown that ends with Billo’s Caracas Boys singing “Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva” (in spanish is “New Year, New Life”).

Christmas and New Year’s Eve Traditions in the United States of America

In the United States of America there are also many traditions in the cultural roots of its inhabitants. Each region has its customs, but Christmas dinner and gifts are common with Venezuela.

However, for Americans the gifts are brought by St. Nicholas or Santa Claus.

This mythical character is based on the figure of Saint Nicholas of Bari. He was a Greek bishop who was said to give gifts in secret. This model was taken to create the figure of Santa Claus because he was recognized as a very generous man.

In addition, Santa Claus also became a marketing figure on behalf of the Coca-Cola company and therefore the image we have of Santa Claus is that of the man dressed in red and white.

One of the most marked traditions is to play with the snow and make snowmen. Snow has a traditional and symbolic value for Americans.

Undoubtedly, the traditional American also meets as a family but with the closest, parents, children and couples. They also like to go out to Christmas parties with the closest family nucleus.

In the United States, parties are more common in public places such as squares, party halls or hotels.

The Venezuelan ideal of family contemplates brothers, uncles, great cousins, appealing to the concept of extended family.

It is also customary to place in some places a branch of a plant called mistletoe. If two people stand under the mistletoe, they are supposed to kiss.

Christmas and New Year's traditions in the U.S. UU
Christmas and New Year’s traditions in the U.S. UU

New Year’s Eve traditions in the United States.

In the United States, meetings where known and unknown people meet are styled.

Some of the most interesting traditions are:

  • A kiss at midnight: At these parties it is customary to kiss at midnight either with the couple or with a stranger who knows in it.
  • Fireworks: This tradition is very important. It is customary that at midnight to receive the new year there is an important display of fireworks to illuminate the night.
  • Lower the ball from Times Square: In New York thousands of people congregate so that one minute before midnight they see the ball descend from Times Square. More than a billion people are watching this moment from their televisions and in Times Square. The iconic Times Square crystal ball welcomes the new year.
  • In the southern states it is customary to eat beans to attract wealth and good luck.
New Yorkers welcome 2022 with Times Square ball drop

Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in Spain

In Spain the nativity scene and the Christmas tree have the same connotation as in Venezuela. Christmas gifts also mean the same thing.

Although in some cases the gifts do not arrive on December 25 but are brought by the Magi on January 7.

It is also very common to sing Christmas carols.

Other gastronomic traditions are nougat and marzipan. Nougat is a tradition that has brought a very interesting industry that exports this product all over the world.

Nougat - A Spanish Christmas tradition
Nougat – A Spanish Christmas tradition

New Year’s Eve traditions in Spain

One of the traditions that is shared with Venezuela is to eat the 12 grapes during the 12 chimes. This is done to attract wealth and luck. This is done to the beat of the chimes of the clock of the door of the sun.

It is customary to call relatives to give him the happy new year and that is why, in those moments, communications collapse.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in the United Arab Emirates

December and Christmas coincide with the UAE’s National Day celebrations.

On that day there are concerts, parties, and fireworks shows.

Also, on those dates between December 9 and 13 an ultramarathon will be held through the Al Marmoom nature reserve.

There is also a race, more Christmas, called “The Santa Run”. In this race the competitors dress as saints and must run 5km.

Christmas is multi-ethnic in Dubai given that more than 90% of its residents are expats. Here you will get traditions of all kinds.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions in the UK

The United Kingdom is characterized by being one of those countries where traditions are the basis of its society. Not for nothing do they maintain a constitutional monarchy as a form of government.

The continuity of Christmas traditions in the United Kingdom shows us how their traditions and history are extremely important in their idiosyncrasies.

Therefore, one of the traditions of the United Kingdom is the traditional speech of the Queen or King of England. This year will be very significant for the transfer of power and the rise of King Carlos III. The British are waiting for the royal Christmas message.

One of the most appreciated aspects of Christmas traditions is the lighting of the streets.

From the largest cities to the most remote villages, street lighting is a sign of British Christmas.

A distinctive sign of British Christmas is its gastronomy. At Christmas dinner roast turkey with potatoes and carrots takes a central role, accompanied by traditional Yorkshire pudding and Brussels sprouts.

Let’s see what the different New Year’s traditions are below.

Christmas Gastronomy in the UK
Christmas Gastronomy in the UK


New Year’s traditions in the UK

In England, families and friends gather in crowded places to welcome Christmas, hugging each other as the new year arrives. Attendees together sing “Auld Lang Syne,” a song that is closely associated with Christmas.

On the other hand, in Ireland music and party are the protagonists. Traditional Irish dances take over nightspots, houses, and streets. In addition, the Irish place a sprig of holly in their beds to dawn the new year attracting love (only singles, please).

In Scotland the new year is a big holiday and is celebrated from December 31 to January 2. On those days there are outdoor parties and fairs for the whole community. In addition, the center of the celebration are the bonfires that are used to scare away bad energies.

Traditions in other parts of the world…

On future occasions we will talk about traditions in other parts of the world. Those places that have been visited by Gustavo Mirabal and María Carolina Chapellín de Mirabal and remained in his heart.

Enjoy Christmas wherever you are and remember that it is a time for generosity and reflection.