Christmas around the world!
For many, Christmas is the best time of the year, the season everyone is waiting for, to have a break with good food and family and friends. Christmas can be celebrated in different ways and can mean different things for each of us. However, I believe we should highlight one of the meanings of Christmas: reunion!
For us as students, it is very common to have Christmas dinners with our friends or flatmates before leaving for the break as well as participating in many Secret Santas. I must admit that this year was the first time I had a Christmas dinner with my flat and although nothing will compare with the Peruvian food I have every year at home where my grandma (the best chef ever) will make a delicious turkey, I enjoyed the British meal and learnt a lot about how people celebrate Christmas in the UK.
It is really interesting to realise how different traditions every country, or even every family has. While most of my europeans friends spend the Christmas dinner with their close/nuclear family (parents and siblings). In Peru, it is common to get all the family reunited… so suddenly, you will have around 20-30 people coming around: your grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins and sometimes relatives you have not seen in ages or who you have not met before.
Also, my family and I go to the Christmas Eve Mass every year since I was 6-7 years old; just before meeting all the family. For many, the Christmas dinner is the best part of the night; however, I must admit I prefer opening the presents. In Peru, we wait until midnight and after wishing each other Merry Christmas and looking to the fireworks; we sit all together and the younger of the family starts giving the presents to each one. I am not entirely sure but according to the American Christmas films I watch every year, people use to open their gifts the next morning, on the 25th. I guess I will discover if the films are right soon and maybe one day I will have a white Christmas. Sadly in Peru it is summer during Christmas so the traditions of sweaters and hot chocolate don’t fit with the weather. Nevertheless, my mum always says: ” the tradition is to have hot chocolate on the 25th” and she will give us hot chocolate even though we are at 25+ degrees.
December 25th is the day to visit my other grandparents and we have Christmas lunch with them, what we call “recalentado”: the food of the day before! Sometimes this food can last for weeks and my dad and I always complain about eating turkey again. We usually visit more family on the 25th, however this year we just went back home and watch Christmas films together.
On the other hand, I have friends that stayed in the UK during the break. Some of them travelled around the country and spent Christmas in London while other got reunited with their family in a European country and stayed with them for the festivity.
No matter how you celebrate (or not) Christmas but we have to admit that is the perfect time to rest and disconnect of the intense uni life, recharge energy and be ready for term 2!