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Festive celebrations around the world: From our sponsored children

Festive celebrations around the world: From our sponsored children

As trees are decorated, turkeys are stuffed, funky Christmas jumpers are taken out of the wardrobe for another year, presents are wrapped, and the Christmas playlist is put on repeat, non-religious Christmas traditions in the UK may seem a somewhat strange concept for other cultures around the world. 

Whether Christmas is celebrated or not, have you ever wondered what happens during the holiday season around the rest of the world? 

Celebrations around the world

We asked our sponsored children from around the world to tell us how they’ll be celebrating the festive season this year, and here’s what they said.

In Brazil, Father Christmas is called Papai Noel which translates to Good Old Man. Instead of hanging up a stocking, children will leave a sock near a window in exchange for presents. 

“I'm going to celebrate Christmas at my Grandma’s house eating cheese and having fun.” – Lucas, sponsored child

“We like to eat tamales (a traditional dish made of masa or dough, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf) and torrejas (French toast). I light up the Christmas tree with my family.” – Gabriela, sponsored child  

“We play hide and seek and then open the presents.” – Daniel, sponsored child


In Vietnam, Christmas Eve is regarded more important than Christmas Day.

The Dao people (ethic group) wear their traditional clothes during the holiday season. Their clothes contain a lot of red which represents luck. 

“We prepare for the New Year by making Banh Chung (a Vietnamese traditional cake).” – Ly, sponsored child 

“In the new year we prepare fruits as an offering to ancestors.” – Cao Thi, sponsored child

Even though Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim country, Christmas is celebrated by the Christian population. 

“In Lembata, we celebrate Christmas very merrily. My friends and I play with firecrackers.” – Dewi, sponsored child

“At home, my mother cooks lots of foods like rice, rice cake. She also cooks chicken for the family’s meal.” – Ayu, sponsored child

“My parents buy me a new shirt and pants for attending mass in the Church. After returning from Church, I meet with my neighbours and shake hands and say “Merry Christmas.” – Vania, sponsored child

Guinea has adopted French religious Christmas traditions such as Midnight Mass. 

“I am celebrating Christmas this year by taking part in a dance competition with Father Christmas.” – Kankou

Happy New Year

However you’re celebrating the holiday season this year, from our sponsored children and everyone at Plan International UK - we wish you a happy holidays and a happy new year! 

Do something special this holiday season

our sponsorship programme benefits children in 50 countries