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Christmas: Beyond Christmas Markets

Enjoy the Christmas festivities at these events worldwide!

· 7 min read

In our previous holiday blog, we talked about Christmas Markets in 2022 and we hope we’ve helped you with our tips on what to buy and where to go. But in addition to good shopping, Christmas also brings with it many unique customs and events. In this Blog, we will present you with some unique Christmas traditions and events from around the world.

If you are traveling to one of the countries on our list this December, don't miss out on these wonderful activities! Step into a world of holiday magic and check out these events with Nomad:

  • Visit the large statue of the Yule goat in Sweden
  • WinterFest at Canada's Wonderland
  • Going to the Pantomime in the United Kingdom
  • Themed ‘Santa Go Out’ Christmas village in Taiwan
  • The Busan Christmas Tree Festival

The large statue of the Yule goat

Location: Gävle, Sweden

If you find yourself in the Swedish town of Gävle (pronounced: yeah-vleh) during the chilly winter holiday season, be sure to visit the 40-foot-high straw goat at Rådhusesplanaden.

Source: visitgavle.se Photo by Daniel Bernstål

Every year, cities and towns throughout Sweden build large statues of Yule goats (called *Julbock *in Swedish), the most famous goat being the one in Gävle. The Yule goat is believed to be an invisible spirit that would appear before Christmas to make sure that the holiday preparations were done correctly. The goat eventually took on the role of a gift giver and is sometimes seen in place of or alongside Santa.

The goat is built on the first day of Advent in late November or early December and is intended to stand for the holiday season as a part of Yule celebrations. *Yule *is a celebration of the winter solstice and it takes place over ten days. This year, Yule takes place from 21 December 2022 to 1 January 2023.

Almost every year, pranksters damage or burn down the Gävle goat before celebrations even start! The town doesn’t give up though and keeps trying to find ways to protect the goat, including guards, fencing, making it flame resistant, and even spraying it with water so it would freeze and be more difficult to light! The town has observed this tradition since 1966, with the goat being damaged 37 times as of December 2019.

Location: Rådhusesplanaden, Gävle

Nomad Tip: You can view a live stream of the goat to see how the goat is holding up this year.

WinterFest at Canada's Wonderland

Location: Vaughan, Canada

As part of WinterFest, Canada's Wonderland is transformed into a mystical winter wonderland, providing a memorable family holiday experience. Ice skating on Snow Flake Lake, over a dozen live performances, holiday entertainment, millions of magnificent lights, and hundreds of lovely Christmas trees around the park—including two 50-foot trees on International Street—are all part of this event.

Source: https://www.narcity.com/
Source: https://www.narcity.com/

You can make unique moments while enjoying the winter holiday season! Explore the larger-than-life-themed zones with your family and friends, eat festive foods, shop for gifts, and much more.

WinterFest offers something for visitors of all ages with more than 40 attractions spread across eight themed sections.  After a two-year absence, Canterbury Theatre's indoor production Tinker's Toy Factory is returning with music, acrobatics, and an amusing tale of elf mischief in Santa's Workshop.

Source: https://www.canadaswonderland.com
Source: https://www.canadaswonderland.com

The park's brand-new, rustic lodge-style restaurant,** Lazy Bear Lodge**, is open and decorated for the season! At Lazy Bear Lodge, cosy up by one of the many fire pits and have a holiday dinner like smoked turkey, ham, or roast beef with a savoury side and biscuit that has just come off the wood-fired grill.

WinterFest rides include the children's attractions in Charlie Brown's Christmas Town, as well as Thunder Run, Klockwerks, and - new this year - Psyclone and Sledge Hammer.

Slide down the ice on the dazzling, frozen lake in front of the renowned Wonder Mountain, which is encircled by magnificently lit trees and Christmas light projections. Online reservations are required.

Don't miss the nightly tree-lighting ceremony on International Street, as they light our two 50-foot-tall Christmas trees covered with thousands of lights and decorations.

Location: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, ON L6A 1S6

Dates: Ends December 31st, 2022 9 PM.

Nomad Tip: Ticket prices are cheaper if you buy them online! Purchase them here.

Going to the Pantomime

Location: United Kingdom

If you are travelling to the United Kingdom for Christmas, here is the event we recommend you visit! Pantomime, also referred to as "panto," is a type of comic performance that is an integral part of British Christmas tradition.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Pantomimes are designed to be silly and extravagant. The players frequently dress in "drag," which means that the males dress as women and the ladies dress as men. All of the roles have crazy clothes. Whatever the plot, there is always a hapless hero, a clumsy villain, and the expectation that the hero will find love.

The audience must engage. “He's behind you!” is the most famous line in all of the pantomime. In an effort to warn the hero that the villain is coming to attack him, the audience cries at him. The protagonist always responds, "No, he's not!"

Source: https://www.london-theater-tickets.com/
Source: https://www.london-theater-tickets.com/

Comedy theatre during this time of year has a long history that dates back to the Victorian era. It was comparable to contemporary pantomime with a focus on "slap-stick" humour. However, its roots were in political satire that ridiculed the ruling class and usually utilized characters who shared numerous traits with the well-known and despised aristocracy or even the monarchy.

Pantomimes are visually stunning performances. Special effects have been a part of panto since its inception in the 1800s and continue to be so today. The majority of large-scale pantomimes have a revolving stage with up to three or four scenes, trap doors, and eye-catching light displays.

Panto is so outrageous, melodramatic, and over-the-top funny that it will make your stomach hurt. Going to a panto is a lovely British tradition, so if you ever have the chance, do it! Participate in the cheering, singing, and catchy phrases.

Nomad Tip: For London Christmas pantomimes, you can book your tickets online here.

Themed ‘Santa Go Out’ Christmas village

Location: Taichung, Taiwan

Escaping life’s problems? Fret not, you’re not alone! Themed ‘Santa Go Out!’, the 2022 Green Ripple Life Christmas Village at Taichung Park Lane features installations of our familiar Christmas elements having legs and escaping from their responsibilities.

Source: Green Ripple Life
Source: Green Ripple Life

Beyond just the installations, Green Ripple Life has put together a series of events and exhibits leading up to Christmas. Closely in line with the theme of running away, the highlight of this year’s event would be the ‘Santa Go Out! Run’ on 18 December, which would see 2022 Santas gathered together for a 2.7km fun run.

Source: Green Ripple Life
Source: Green Ripple Life

The event would start at 9 am and would carry on all the way into the evening with fringe events and a series of performances by local artists Fran, Ray Huang, and Ring, in the afternoon at 3 pm. While registration for the run has been fully sold out, the event is open for all – so be sure to deck out in your most unique Santa outfit and join in the fun!

Other notable events would also be a music party on Christmas Eve, featuring BLACK SANTA, 2 DJs from Busan, 3 hip-hop artists, and a street dance crew. The party will be held at PARK2 and is expected to start at 6:30 pm. There is also an ongoing exhibit at the exhibition space titled ‘Show some re’s black’, which focuses on the concept of ‘reusing’ and ‘respect for one another.

Location: Park Lane by CMP, No. 68, Gongyi Rd., West District, Taichung City, Taiwan

Caowu Square, No. 534, Yingcai Rd, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan

Dates: 25 November 2022 - 3 January 2023

Nomad Tip: The Park Lane and Caowu Square cluster combines green vegetation and shopping centres, and is a popular location for families and friends in Taichung to gather for a weekend day out. There are often themed fairs and exhibits in the area, so be sure to check them out during your next trip to Taichung.

The Busan Christmas Tree Festival

Location: Busan, Korea

The Busan Christmas Tree Festival, Busan's annual winter event, will be held in the Gwangbok-ro area of Jung District in Busan.

Source: Visit Busan
Source: Visit Busan

The street, stretching 1.16 kilometres, will be divided into a “Christmas is the best gift” section, a “Healing Road” section and a “Blessings of Angels” section. The festival will kick off with a “Gwangbok-ro Winterlight Tree Festival Lighting Ceremony” in front of Gwangbok-ro at 5:30 pm on 18 December. Throughout the festival, there will be street performances, concerts, contests, and other fringe events to add to the atmosphere. There will also be linked programs in the “Music Lecture Concert” series that will retrace the history of 100 years of Korean music.

The Busan Christmas Tree Festival typically runs from early December. As there was a delay in the start of the festival due to the host’s involvement in an embezzlement controversy, the festival this year would go on for a longer time until the end of January.

Location: Yongdusan Park, around Gwangbok-ro, Jung-gu.

Dates: 18 December 2022 - 29 January 2023, 5 pm to 12am.

Nomad Tip: You may want to use Naver Maps for navigation during your trip in Korea for better accuracy and details!

P.S. Don't miss our **Christmas promo** and get 15% off on all 10GB and above data plans using promo code: NOMADXMAS15 and enjoy your next trip without being burned by data roaming charges!

*P.P.S. Our next holiday blog is on how you can start your 2023 differently. Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram.