Global traditions vary but meaning of Christmas is universal

Coconut cake, Home Alone, and piñatas. Foreigners living in Bratislava share how they celebrate the yuletide season.

(Source: Anna Fay)

Even though some two billion people around the world celebrate Christmas, the yuletide traditions differ between countries. Many foreigners in Slovakia try to recreate their traditions from back home, which is not always without its challenges.

“We keep our own traditions, which means we start buying the Christmas food we cannot get here when we visit home in the summer or fall,” said Elisabeth Laursen, a Norwegian who lives with her family in Slovakia.

Lights and klappertaart

Indonesian Mei Ying Oh, who has lived in Bratislava for two years, enjoys a typical Indonesian dinner with her family following church service on Christmas Day.

Although 85 percent of the Indonesian population is Muslim, Christmas is still a festive time in the Southeast Asian country, which was once ruled by the Netherlands.

The tasty dinner usually consists of some national favourites such as rendang (a spicy meat dish), chicken curry, and egg balado (boiled and fried egg, cooked with a special chilli sauce). For dessert, Christmas cookies and Klappertaart, a Dutch-influenced Indonesian cake flavoured with coconut flesh and juice, are a must.

After Christmas dinner, Ying Oh and her family take part in a very important tradition.

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