With the weather hotting up here at Crimbo Trees HQ in Edinburgh, have you every wondered what it’s like to have Christmas under those African skies? As summer rolls around for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers, here at Crimbo Trees we are investigating Christmas traditions in far off distant lands!
In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the height of summer. Families make the most of the school holidays by going camping, hiking and enjoying their favourite outdoor activities. It’s common for families living in towns or cities to go out carol singing or attend church services on Christmas Eve. ‘Malva Pudding’ traditionally follows a South African Christmas dinner. This sticky sponge has a dense, caramelised texture and contains apricot jam. It also goes rather well with cream or custard! Unlike in the UK, Christmas in hot climates often lends itself to a special barbecue feast known in South Africa as a ‘braai’.
Festivities get underway in good time in Argentina, where decorations go up earlier than in other parts of the world with the nativity scene being a prominent feature. It’s common for Christmas trees to be up and decorated by 8th December, when Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception. Trees are often adorned with cotton balls to represent snow – the secret ingredient that’s missing from Christmas in hot climates! The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve late in the evening, with fireworks at midnight to celebrate the coming of Christmas Day.
Christmas signals the end of the school year and the start of the holidays here! Apples are a popular Christmas treat with apple carts lining the streets during the festive period. Decorations centre around the ‘Pasito’, a nativity scene set up by the whole family and often adorned with fresh fruit and flowers. Cyprus branches are woven into beautiful wreaths decorated with colourful ribbon and red coffee beans! The festive season goes on throughout December and into the new year with a host of parades, fiestas and festivals going on into January.
Each country and culture have their own traditions, but Christmas in hot climates doesn’t seem that different after all! Aside from all that beach-side lounging and cotton wool…Perhaps we could be tempted.