Twinkling lights, sleigh bells ringing, and a jolly man decked in a red suit and white beard are all familiar images of many who celebrate Christmas here in the United States. For others around the world however, the holiday can evoke thoughts of pinatas filled with candies and coins, goblins, and even a half-goat, half-demon called upon to punish naughty children. These global traditions may not always make it stateside, but there are certainly others with International origins.
People have celebrated Christmas in some way, shape, or form worldwide for 2,000 years. Starting in the fourth century as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ in Christianity, adoption spread from Egypt to England to Scandinavia and more by the end of the eighth century. The first ‘Christmas trees’ found roots in Germany with the decoration of evergreen trees having been a tradition previously in German celebrations of the winter solstice.
Another popular decorative plant—the poinsettia—was brought to North America by the American minister of Mexico in 1828. With its vibrant red and green flowers, poinsettias are often also referred to as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower. It is said to symbolize good cheer and success, and can be found in homes throughout the holiday season.