Two years ago the official Chelsea website asked some of our overseas players to tell us about Christmas traditions in their homeland. With new players from different countries at the club this winter, it is time to ask some more…
In Belgium we celebrate Christmas on the 25th with all the family. Everyone is together, cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters. We have a Christmas tree, we call it a sapin. There are just a few presents under the tree. Before Christmas we each pick a piece of paper out of a hat which will have a family member’s name on it. We then buy a present for that person, so everybody gives one present and everybody receives one present. For food, we eat a traditional meal called a raclette. You heat some cheese with a special machine so it melts and then you scrape off the melted cheese. We have potatoes and dried meats with it. That’s a normal Belgian Christmas!
A traditional Australian Christmas for me would involve hot weather and a barbecue, but not on the beach because I’m from the west. We all sit around the Christmas tree in nothing but a pair of shorts because it’s so hot. We get our presents on Christmas Eve, which is the German tradition. We have dinner, clean up, open our presents and then go out. In terms of what we eat, it would usually be a roast. We used to have our own ducks and geese so that’s what we would eat.
It’s a family day, for some people Santa comes on Christmas Eve, but for others it’s Christmas morning. We have a big dinner on Christmas Eve and then another big lunch on Christmas Day. What you eat really depends on what part of Spain you come from. In the north, where my wife’s family and my father’s family are from, they just eat seafood, so lots of fresh fish and things like that. In Spain turkey isn’t very popular so we normally eat chicken after we’ve had some cold starters. We love food in Spain so that day is a big day for us, we eat too much, non-stop from Christmas Eve all the way through Christmas Day. We also enjoy drinking red wine, white wine and champagne. I have all my family coming over for a week as it’s hard for me to get back there because of all the fixtures in England. My brothers and all their kids will come and we will celebrate Christmas, then we celebrate New Year with my wife’s family.
Kevin De Bruyne
When I am able to be back home for Christmas I spend it with my friends and family. In my town in Belgium New Year is celebrated more than Christmas, so there is always a lot going on around that. A lot of people in Belgium like fondue, so that, along with vegetables, is very popular at Christmas.
Marco van Ginkel
In Holland Christmas isn’t as big as it is in England or Germany, where you have all the nice Christmas markets. A lot of people in Holland go to Germany or England because in those countries it’s such a big event, but a lot of things are similar. On Christmas Day you have dinner with your family, so it’s always nice to be all together. The city I’m from is very small, but it’s close to Utrecht. I’ve been to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park which I really enjoyed, I’ve never been to a Christmas market like that so it was a lot of fun for me.
In the Czech Republic, like everywhere, it’s all about family. My parents are divorced so I spend the 23rd with my mother, 24th with my father and 25th with all the grandparents, so it’s like I have three Christmas Days. In my city, Olomouc, the population is only 100,000, so compared to London it’s just like a tiny village, but in the main square there are lots of decorations and that sort of thing, so it’s very festive, a bit like Winter Wonderland. We have fish on Christmas Day, which is the tradition. Some people eat meat, although nobody has turkey, it’s not something we eat in Czech Republic.
We have a big dinner on the evening of the 24th with all the family, which is when we receive our presents as well. The food we eat is not what you would class as traditional Christmas food, we don’t really eat turkey, like they do in England. We usually have fish, which is very popular where I come from in Spain. It’s just a nice time to spend with all your friends and family.
In Cameroon, there is a gathering with all the family on the 24th and we celebrate in the evening, the people drink beer, and on the 25th, they go to the church. Chicken is the traditional food and most of the people eat that. When you give presents depends, some are to the family the night before, on the 24th, and some wait until the 6th January. The decorations are the same as in England, a lot of lights on the streets.
These days are very important for the people in Brazil and they stay in their houses and celebrate at home with their family. They decorate the houses inside with little lights and in the streets there are big lights. The children find presents under the bed in the morning on Christmas Day. For food the people eat chicken or pork but not beef and dessert is something like ice cream, nothing special. This year my family are with me in London.