We asked Bing Chat about Christmas and New Year traditions

This article is the third in a series from the Digital Innovation Lab in IT Services, seeking to experiment with synthetic content generated by AI. By showing how generative AI tools can be used with specific prompts, we hope to encourage open discussion and collaborative innovation – see how you can get involved below.

For this item, we asked a generative AI tool - Microsoft's Bing Chat - to draft an article on the most common Christmas and New Year traditions from around the world.

Synthetic content generated by Microsoft's Bing Chat. This text has not been edited for style or content for the purposes of this experiment.

Christmas and New Year Traditions Around the World


As we approach the end of the year, people around the world are preparing to celebrate two of the most widely recognized holidays: Christmas and New Year’s. These celebrations, while sharing some common themes of joy, unity, and reflection, can vary greatly in their traditions and customs across different cultures. Let’s take a journey around the globe to discover some of the most common Christmas and New Year traditions.

Christmas Traditions

Germany: Advent Calendars

In Germany, it’s popular to hang Advent calendars. These calendars start on December 1st and count the days until Christmas.

Europe: Decorating Fir Trees

Decorating fir trees is a common tradition in many European countries

Earth wearing a red santa hat, generated by Bing Chat

Picture generated by Bing Chat from the prompt 'produce a picture of Earth wearing a Christmas hat'

Colombia: Noche de las Velitas

In Colombia, people celebrate “Noche de las Velitas” (Night of the Little Candles), marking the start of the Christmas season.

Ethiopia: Celebrating Christmas on January 7

In Ethiopia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

Mexico: Giving Poinsettias

In Mexico, it’s common to give poinsettias, a plant with red and green foliage, as a Christmas gift.

Guatemala: La Quema del Diablo

In Guatemala, people celebrate “La Quema del Diablo” (The Burning of the Devil), a tradition where effigies of the devil are burnt to cleanse the home and neighborhood of evil spirits.

New Year Traditions

Brazil: Wearing White

In Brazil, people wear white clothes on New Year’s Eve to symbolize peace and purity.

Spain: Eating 12 Grapes

In Spain, it’s customary to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, each representing a wish for the new year.

Colombia: Carrying Suitcases

In Colombia, people carry suitcases around for travel opportunities in the coming year.

Denmark and Greece: Smashing Plates

In Denmark and Greece, people smash plates to ward off bad luck and show friendship.

Ecuador: Burning Effigies

In Ecuador, effigies are burnt to cleanse the past year and start anew.


These are just a few examples of the diverse ways Christmas and New Year are celebrated around the world. Each tradition reflects the unique culture and history of its people, adding to the richness and diversity of these global celebrations. As we embrace these end-of-year festivities, let’s remember to respect and appreciate the different ways people choose to celebrate, and may these celebrations bring us all a sense of unity, joy, and hope for the year to come.

End of synthetic content.

Tool and prompts used

This text was produced by Microsoft Bing Chat. The prompt used was: ‘Blog Article: Draft an article with the most common christmas and new year traditions from around the world’. 

The content has been produced by a generative AI tool using information available on the internet; no University data has been used as part of this experiment. The content has been left purposefully unedited by humans so that the output can be analysed and discussed.

What do you think? Join the discussion

This is part of a series of experimental articles exploring the possibilities, challenges and benefits of generative AI tools. We’re keen to encourage discussion about the use of AI tools – please join the Generative AI SIG Teams channel and help us to expand the experiment and inspire others to learn more about this new technology.

Can you suggest other tools to use or other prompts? What would you like to ask AI?  

For further information about Digital Innovation, please contact innovation@it.ox.ac.uk.