I love the riches of tradition that take place throughout Epcot during Holidays Around the World.
And one of my favorite holiday rituals is learning about how others celebrate this important time of the year.
We all know about Santa in the United States and other countries, Père Noël in France, and Father Christmas in the UK. Today, I thought we could take a look at some of the other Christmas traditions celebrated in the lands of World Showcase. And of course, we’ll be snacking along the way as well.
La Befana in Italy
Italy celebrates Christmas in intimate, joyous fashion. After Midnight Mass, families gather for a sumptuous feast to mark the occasion. One treat that you may enjoy is Panettone, a sweet bread studded with dried fruits, that’s traditionally served around the holidays. It’s especially excellent with a glass of Prosecco.
We also learn of La Befana, a kind-hearted witch who journeys in search of Gesu Bambino (the Baby Jesus.) As she searches for the child, she leaves gifts for boys and girls.
But be careful not to misbehave, or you may end up with a lump of coal!
Don’t look for La Befana on Christmas Eve, however. Instead, she arrives on the eve of Epiphany.
Julenissen in Norway
Christmas is also observed in Norway, but celebrations differ between urban and rural areas. Both mark the holiday with lots of festivities leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Families might enjoy beloved sweets at the end of their feast, like Riskrem, or Rice Cream! (Make some at home with our handy recipe!)
In rural areas, children also look forward to a visitation from Julenissen. The kind gnome lives in barns and woods in the Norwegian countryside, and it is believed that he is the guardian of farm animals and families.
Children leave a bowl of porridge for him to help fortify Julenissen for his travels from farm to farm.
La Navidad in Mexico
Candlelight processions mark the season as friends and family celebrate La Navidad in Mexico. During Las Posadas, children dress up like Mary and Joseph and visit their neighbors as part of the procession. The celebration continues with singing, dancing, and breaking a piñata as homes are brightly adorned with native poinsettias and other decorations.
One hallmark of the celebration of Christmas in Mexico is the making of tamales.
The Mexico Pavilion pays homage to this tradition with a sweet version of the masa-based dish.
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What is your favorite Christmas tradition observed during Holidays Around the World at Epcot? Leave a comment and share it with us!