To say 2020 has been quite the whirlwind of a year would be an understatement. Given that, we’re looking forward to unwinding and celebrating the festive season (perhaps more so than any other year) in whatever way we can!
We’ve asked our multicultural team here at Monese to share how they’re planning to celebrate the holidays amidst all the ongoing craziness due to Covid-19, plus what new spin they’ll put on local traditions under the circumstances.
Colombians certainly know how to party — and the Christmas and New Year’s period is no exception! In fact, it’s perhaps the biggest party of the year for many Colombians. Colombians usually celebrate the holiday season with something called novenas. This is when they start celebrating the Christmas period nine days in advance. It’s usually a time for family and friends to gather and pray together. But, traditionally, it's also filled with lots of food, drinking, dancing and singing.
Andrea (from Colombia, lives in Estonia): “Due to the virus, my family back in Colombia are still celebrating novenas but just among our immediate family. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel to Colombia this Christmas period to join them. Still, we have a small Colombian community here in Tallinn, so we're celebrating with each other".
Scotland’s big holiday celebration is Hogmanay on New Year’s Eve. Due to Covid-19, Edinburgh's Hogmanay, a world-renowned event, has been cancelled this year; however, families are still finding ways to celebrate — like eating the traditional steak pie on New Year’s Day! As for Christmas, one Moneser has found both pros and cons to the coronavirus restrictions around the holidays.
Jess (from Scotland, lives in England): “I have a big family, so normally we have more than 15 people on Christmas day, but it’ll just be six this year, which is a shame. Regarding Christmas shopping, I’ve done it pretty much all online! I've spent less because I’ve not been browsing in shops like I normally would and just picking stuff up. Everything I’ve bought I've been looking specifically for and searched for deals”.
In Poland, the most important date of the holiday season is Christmas Eve. The tradition is to fast the whole day and wait until supper for a grand feast of 12 meals (but no meat)! After dinner, everyone gathers to sing Christmas carols. Christmas presents are set under the tree, and they aren’t open until the first star rises in the sky. The little ones usually sit by the window, waiting for the first one to appear.
Karolina (from Poland, lives in Ireland): “I’ve ordered all my Christmas presents online this year! I’m not seeing my mom for the first time in my life this Christmas because of Covid. However, I’m going to have some family come over to my place, and we’ll connect with my mom on Skype to eat together”.
With recent developments of a new Covid-19 strain detected in the UK, travel restrictions are changing rapidly. So, before you head anywhere, it’s best to check the latest Covid-19 limitations for your tier and travel rules. The government has also published guidelines for making your Christmas bubble so you can celebrate the holiday with friends and family as safely as possible. This means there’s still a chance you can partake in the traditional Christmas meal on the 25th with your nearest and dearest. The main meal typically consists of roast turkey, vegetables and stuffing.
Joe from England: “I’m going to get a Covid test before I visit family locally, to try and make sure I don't infect them. I’m planning to buy gift cards, so I don't need to go to shops much because I don't want to risk catching Covid and then giving it to my family when I meet them at Christmas”.
In Romania, the holiday season is more than a month-long affair! It kicks off on 30 November on St. Andrew’s Day and lasts until 7 January with the celebration of Saint John the Baptist. In between, there are other major holidays such as Great Union Day, Saint Stephen’s Day and Saint Nicholas’ Day where the tradition is to polish your boots and leave them by the doorstep. Children who were well-behaved throughout the year will get candies and gifts in their boots (and a whip or a stick if they’ve been naughty).
Monica (from Romania, lives in Portugal): “Food is the main part of any holiday in Romania and Christmas is a true feast for the senses! There are a lot of pork meals. We also have sarmale, which is stuffed cabbage and cozonaci — a sort of sponge cake with nuts, cocoa and Turkish delight. It’s similar to the Italian panettone but more consistent. Tradition says it must be prepared on Christmas Eve”.
It’s safe to say that regardless of the outbreak and continued lockdowns across Europe, nothing is bringing down our Christmas spirit this time of year! How are you celebrating the holidays in 2020? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your merry traditions with us.
Happy holidays! 🎄