As Christmas approaches, we’ve enjoyed exploring the traditions and festive nuances of our Jupiter Group teams globally. There’s an ever growing satisfaction that comes from our diverse make up as a business and although we are unable to celebrate in person together this year we are sound in the knowledge that our people are with their closest loved ones doing the very things that make Christmas special to them.
Our UK based HQ will see tinsel clad Christmas trees and talk of Roast turkey dinners, midnight mass and nativity plays alongside the anticipated arrival of Father Christmas delivering gifts whilst children sleep. But not all celebrations are the same, here’s our favourite snippets of tradition from our core areas of the world.
Both on the 24th Christmas Eve and the 25th Christmas Day, members of the extended family usually gather around a feast of meat, wine and celebration foods not eaten at other times of the year alongside all kinds of desserts! New Year’s Eve sees our Spanish colleagues take part in the tradition of ‘the twelve grapes of luck’ which consists of eating a grape with each clock bell strike at midnight to welcome the New Year.
The Southern Hemisphere South African Christmas comes in the summer and one tradition is going to the beach! The schools are closed for the Christmas holidays and many people spend the Christmas period camping.
Christmas dinner is either turkey, duck, roast beef, mince pies or suckling pork with yellow rice, raisins and vegetables, followed by Christmas Pudding or a traditional South African desert called Malva Pudding. The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun, pulling Christmas crackers and if it’s really hot they might even have a barbecue or ‘braai’.
At Christmas time it is hot in South America and families meet on Christmas Eve for large meals with all kinds of warm and cold foods like melon and prosciutto or pork with pineapple. After eating, at 12 midnight Santa Claus arrives and presents are opened around the Christmas tree.
On the 25th, the celebration continues with the left overs from the night before. Another tradition for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve is to shoot an abundance of fireworks into the night skies. On New Year’s Eve most people wear white clothes to welcome the New Year.
Christmas is a colourful festival in India, as are most there, and local stores, markets, and malls are draped in multicoloured twinkling fairy lights, paper streamers, and flowers. In India festivals are always celebrated with lights and colours and Christmas is no exception. Churches are often decorated using spectacular light shows at night.
Christmas sweets are traditionally called “kuswar,” and they range from delicious dense Christmas fruitcakes to rose cookies and “kidiyo”. They also make sweet dumplings called “newrio,” stuffed with palm sugar, sweet grated coconut and sesame seeds. Savoury banana chips, crisp chaklis and cardamom and cashew macaroons round up a versatile collection of Christmas goodies.
While Christmas Day is celebrated with big family dinners, sweet treats and joy, traditionally, there’s one thing that makes the day different than in most parts of the Christmas-celebrating world: there are often no gifts. Instead, presents are handed out on New Year’s, in celebration of the feast day of “Greek Santa”, Aghios Vasilis.
This is also when the traditional Greek New Year’s cake is cut, called the Vasilopita, which contains a coin or charm hidden in the dough! The person to find it in their slice, it is said, will be blessed with good fortune for the year.
The Jupiter Group is a leader in the global fresh produce market. Ranked 17th in the 2020 The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, Jupiter grows and supplies new and traditional varieties of grapes and citrus alongside melons, pineapples, limes, avocados, kiwi, blueberries and cherries.