Christmas Traditions in Belgium

Christmas in Belgium is celebrated much the same as it is in the United States. There are some differences that we will show below. One major difference is that Belgium is one of the many countries other than the United States that celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th. Here is how the country celebrates.

Decorations – Belgium has a growing population that put up Christmas trees. Advent wreaths are put up on doors around the country. Nativity scenes also go up by the trees, as the Christmas season is more of a religious celebration than in the United States.

Food – The food prepared for Christmas Eve are typically seafood and stuffed turkey, as well as a variety of desserts, including sponge cake.

Christmas Eve – On Christmas Eve, there is a special meal that is eaten by those gathered. Christmas Eve is usually spent with close friends and family, and the distant relatives tend to visit on Christmas Day.

Traditions – Advent is a big tradition in Belgium. Gift giving is done to not just friends and family, but also for work associates and classmates. None of the gifts tend to be very big in price.

Work – The Christmas Market is a common place to go during the Christmas season. It is a common place to buy gifts and food for the Christmas holiday.

Santa – Much like many of the other countries profiled, Belgians believe that Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, will visit them on December 6th to give them gifts. They leave gifts for both Sinterklaas’ horse and Zwarte Pete, or Black Pete, who accompanies Sinterklaas during his gift giving. Sinterklaas keeps a book with the good boys and girls names in it, but if you’ve been bad, Pete will take you back to Spain.

Media – The popular Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life are aired during the holiday season in Belgium.

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