What is Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is the evening or the whole day before Christmas. It is celebrated by Christians throughout the world as a much-loved holiday on 24th December each year. The ‘eve’ in Christmas Eve is an abbreviation for the evening. As one of the most influential holidays of the Western world, there are several traditions that have developed around Christmas Eve. The day celebrates family and love as people take a break from their busy lives and spend time with their loved ones.  

Christmas Eve Traditions Around the World 


  Christmas Eve traditions in the USA include- 

Christmas Caroling: In Caroling, a group of singers called caroling groups go from door to door singing traditional Christmas songs. These groups often sing for charity or to raise donations. 

Leaving cookies for Santa: It is believed that Santa Claus visits every house on Christmas Eve to leave presents for children. It is a cherished tradition for many children to leave out milk and cookies for Santa before going to bed. 

Watching Christmas movies: Many networks play back-to-back classic Christmas movies on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Watching these movies is also a popular tradition.  


    Some Christmas Eve traditions in Italy are- 

Midnight Mass: Attending a midnight mass in Vatican City is an important religious tradition for many Roman Catholics.  

La Vigilia: La Vigilia is an Italian Christmas Eve tradition. According to this tradition, no meat is eaten on Christmas Eve and the meals consist of several seafood items instead. 

Zampognari: The Zampognari are bagpipe-playing shepherds who play traditional Christmas hymns and carols on an instrument called Zampogna. 


Few Australian Christmas Eve traditions are-

Going out to pubs: It is a popular practice among young Australians to go out to pubs for drinks in the summer heat. 

Cricket matches: Many Australians have leisurely cricket matches with friends, family members, or neighbors. 

Setting out candles: Australians with Irish heritage often set out candles in front of a window to welcome Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. 


Some Christmas eve traditions in Japan are-

Couples celebrating: Many couples in Japan celebrate Christmas Eve by going on romantic dates, looking at Christmas lights, exchanging gifts, and having romantic dinner. In many ways, it can be compared to how Valentine’s Day is celebrated. 

KFC Dinner: One unique Japanese Christmas Celebration is having fried chicken from KFC for Christmas dinner. 

Illuminations: As Christmas is mostly celebrated as a secular holiday in Japan instead of closely associated with religion, dazzling illuminations across cities is a much loved Christmas tradition.  


Christmas Eve traditions in Mexico are- 

Decorating with Poinsettias: Poinsettias are beautiful flowers native to Mexico. They are called Christmas Eve Blossoms as well. Many families decorate and showcase Poinsettias blossoms. 

Posadas: Posadas is a Christmas celebration involving children. It will be celebrated between 16th and 24th December. Children reenact Joseph and Mary looking for an inn before the birth of Jesus. Each day ends with a party and piñatas for the children.

Misa De Gallo: Misa De Gallo or Midnight Mass is attended by many people in Mexico. Fireworks are also used to celebrate. 


 French Christmas Eve traditions include- 

Gifts: Père Noël is the French Santa Claus figure, it is believed that he leaves presents for children on Christmas Eve. Children sometimes leave carrots for Père Noël’s donkey by the Christmas tree. 

Letters from Père Noël: Children all over France write letters to Père Noël asking for their presents. There is a French law that states all children who write must receive a postcard in response. Workers at the postal centre in Libourne, Gironde, have the task of replying to the children. 

Le Réveillon de Noël: Le Réveillon de Noël is the traditional Christmas Eve feast shared with family and loved ones. It’s a leisurely meal accompanied by wine and conversation and may even go on for hours. 

The Philippines 

Some Christmas Eve traditions in The Philippines are as follows- 

Simbang Gabi: Simbang Gabi is the traditional Filipino Christmas Eve mass that is attended by many people. 

Noche Buena: Noche Buena is a huge midnight meal shared by family and neighbors on the night of Christmas Eve. 

Setting up a Belen: "Belen" is a recreation of the nativity scenes. Churches and families individually set up nativity scenes to celebrate Christmas.