Imagine celebrating Christmas in summer, wearing your swimsuit and drinking a celebratory cocktail next to the pool. Everybody gathers around a table outside and enjoys their meal with friends and family. They sit until the sun sets and watch the Christmas lights illuminate the garden.
It sounds pretty unusual, but I can assure you it's a lot of fun! I'm going to tell you why it's important to celebrate the holidays in another country and what you can learn from it.
By Mermaid Gia
I had the incredible opportunity to spend Christmas in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the festivities are celebrated in the summer. This is the exact opposite of any Christmas observed in Europe. Typically, it's already hot at that time of the year, and the temperature is between 25-30 degrees Celcius.
South Africans usually have lookalike Christmas trees that they decorate with ornaments, and they love putting up Christmas lights around their homes (similar to some American homes.) Their Christmas meals are very similar to English cuisines because of the history between the two countries.
Most South Africans prepare gammon with a fruit glaze and make a variety of meat, including lamb and chicken. The meat is served with salads, roast vegetables and sweet pumpkin fritters. The food is light which complements the hot weather well.
A dessert you can almost find in any home is a trifle. They make it exactly the way the British do, with layers of sponge cake, jelly, cream, custard and fruit. They also like to eat Malva Pudding which is a traditional dessert.
Who would've thought these two countries in two different seasons could have so many Christmas traditions in common? The only way you could've known; is by spending Christmas in another country.
Spending the holidays at least once in another country can broaden your world. It doesn't matter if you're traveling alone or with a companion; here are some reasons why you need to try this.
Sample a Variety of Delicious Festive Treats
Tasting traditional meals can introduce you to new flavors, and you can learn how locals sit around the table and feast with their families. Do they crack Christmas crackers like South Africans or head out to KFC like in Japan?
Remember to try some festive treats, like sweets or homemade desserts.
Unique Christmas Gifts
While you are traveling abroad, you can buy the best Christmas gifts. It's always a struggle to buy gifts for friends and family, especially if you don't know what to get them. Why not buy some exciting souvenirs or a Christmas ornament to hang on the tree?
Exploring Christmas markets is a great way to meet some locals, learn about authentic Christmas traditions and buy gifts. Good things come in small packages which will fit perfectly in your suitcase!
Absorb Cultural Differences
Once you've set foot on new grounds, you will see personal growth. It's a given fact that when we travel, we have a deeper understanding and compassion for people. You might experience a grand or an indigent Christmas, which teaches you the true meaning of Christmas. These differences can make you humble and grateful for what you have.
During my time in South Africa, I was fortunate to stay with family members during the festive season. I learned that Christmas for them is a religious holiday, and it's essential to spend it with family. It doesn't matter if you have Christmas presents or not.
More Time To Rest
There are usually so many things to do during the holidays, like, buying and wrapping Christmas presents, preparing food, picking up family members, decking the halls and cleaning the house. That doesn't sound like a holiday to me.
If you are traveling abroad, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. No disappointments from family members; you can put your feet up and just be jolly!
I will never forget that Christmas I spent with my family in South Africa. It was unusual and exciting, and my new favorite Christmas dish is pumpkin fritters with caramel sauce!
Start packing your bags; the proof is in the pudding.