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Expat Exchange - Christmas in Kuwait
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Kuwait City


Christmas in Kuwait

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: Learn how people celebrate Christmas and the New Year in Kuwait - traditions, food, church, gift exchange and more.

The holiday season in Kuwait offers a unique experience for expats and digital nomads, blending local customs with international festivities. For those spending their first Christmas and New Year's in this Middle Eastern country, the atmosphere is a mix of subtle celebration and cultural respect.

Christmas and New Year's in Kuwait

In Kuwait, a predominantly Muslim country, Christmas is not a public holiday, but the expat community and local Christians keep the festive spirit alive. New Year's, on the other hand, is celebrated by a wider audience, with fireworks and gatherings marking the occasion. While the public display of Christmas is understated compared to Western countries, hotels and shopping malls often put up decorations and play holiday music to create a festive environment for visitors and residents alike.

Celebrating the Holidays

Expats and digital nomads often gather in private homes or at expat clubs to celebrate Christmas. These gatherings typically involve sharing a meal, exchanging gifts, and enjoying each other's company. In the spirit of giving, people often buy thoughtful presents for friends and family, with a focus on personal and meaningful items rather than extravagant gifts.

Events and Festivities

Leading up to the holidays, various events are organized within the expat community, such as Christmas bazaars, tree-lighting ceremonies, and festive brunches at hotels. These events provide opportunities for people to socialize, shop for unique gifts, and indulge in holiday treats.

Santa Claus in Kuwait

While Santa Claus is not a traditional figure in Kuwaiti culture, he makes appearances at expat events and shopping centers, bringing joy to children from all backgrounds. The concept of Santa is embraced as a fun and festive addition to the holiday season.

Traditional Foods and Desserts

Christmas and New Year's feasts in Kuwait often feature a blend of international and local cuisine. Traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as roast lamb, biryani, and kebabs are enjoyed alongside festive favorites like turkey and Christmas pudding. Desserts such as baklava, date-filled ma'amoul, and various international sweets add a sweet touch to the celebrations.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, those who observe the holiday often attend church services. There are a few Christian churches in Kuwait where expats can celebrate midnight mass or Christmas Day services. The rest of the day is usually spent with friends and family, enjoying meals and the company of loved ones.

Decorations and Markets

While Kuwait does not have the same level of public Christmas decorations seen in Western countries, certain areas are known for their festive displays. Shopping malls, such as The Avenues and 360 Mall, are adorned with lights and ornaments, creating a cheerful atmosphere for shoppers. Additionally, some neighborhoods with higher concentrations of expats may feature more private home decorations, offering a sense of holiday spirit within the community.

Experiencing Christmas and New Year's in Kuwait as an expat or digital nomad is a unique blend of local customs and international traditions. While the public celebrations may be more subdued, the private gatherings, festive events, and church services provide ample opportunity to feel the holiday cheer. The focus on shared meals, thoughtful gifts, and community spirit ensures that even far from home, the essence of the season can be felt and enjoyed. As the New Year approaches, the excitement builds with fireworks and festivities, welcoming the year ahead with hope and camaraderie.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Kuwait City

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