Posted by pplotkin on December 19, 2018 in AncestryDNA, Canada, Holidays

Whether you are opening a gift or meeting someone new at a party, the holiday season can be a time of revelation and surprise. But, as much as the season is about discoveries, it is also a time of reflection and  offers a great opportunity to connect with our family’s past and to enjoy traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation.

From your AncestryDNA results, you may have discovered connections to new countries or regions and it could be fun to incorporate some of these worldly traditions into your holiday celebrations.

Here are just a few to consider from around the world:

Poland: At Christmas, Polish families will set an extra place setting and chair at the table. While there are a few different explanations regarding the origins of this custom, all seem to agree that it is a symbol of generosity and preparedness — you never know when you may need to host another person.

Venezuela: The holidays can be hectic, but sometimes you just need to roll with it. At least, this is the case in Caracas, Venezuela. On Christmas Eve, the city’s residents make their way to Mass by… roller skating.

Latvia: This small, Baltic country gave rise to a big holiday tradition: the Christmas Tree. The first documented use of an evergreen tree at Christmas was in Latvia during the 15th century. Germany followed suit and the tradition took root in countries across the world.

Scotland: December 31 or Hogmanay as they say in Scotland, is a night for street festivals and parties. In the city of Edinburgh, live music, DJs and outdoor bars abound. At midnight, revelers stop to admire Fireworks and to sing Auld Lang Syne.

Bulgaria: Dinner on December 24 is 100 per cent vegetarian. Pass the kale and let the festivities begin!

Canada: Turkey, stockings, Santa Claus and snow are the order of the day in Canada. But, did you know we also have a lesser known tradition? Each year, Canada sends the biggest and best fir tree grown in Nova Scotia to Boston, Massachusetts to thank them for their help during the Halifax Explosion over 100 years ago.

Japan: The Japanese ring the New Year in in style — literally. To mark the start of a new calendar year, temples across the country ring their bells 108 times, an event known as Joya no kane. The ritual is meant to drive away any negative emotions from the past year.

Italy: Why not kick off the New Year with some candy in your shoes? To mark the Epiphany on January 6, children across Italy are delighted by la Befana. The kind witch leaves treats in the shoes of good boys and girls, but coal for those who are on her naughty list. Sound familiar? La Befana long predates Santa Claus, with some dating the tradition back to the eighth century.

Ethiopia: Christmas, Ganna or Genna as it is known in Ethiopia, is celebrated later in Ethiopia (January 6 and 7). People dress all in white to mark the day.

What are some traditions that are part of your holiday season? Are you planning to include any new ones this year, based on your AncestryDNA findings?


  1. luis bezerra

    hi, just pop here to say i will not use or update my tree with ancestry anymore.

    I think you are too greedy, both in value and in charging for any aditional entry found.

    I believe it shouldnt be legal for you to withhold information pertaining to a person.

    Anyway, I am sure you study your business. Personalky i think your days are numbered. Today we have which is free and if they dont make it some other org will


    • Jason

      I was just wondering during all the DNA that you’ve pulled have you found any nephilim blood to make super soldiers with

  2. Rosalee Worley

    Luis Bezerra, what did Ancestry withhold from you and why? Was it because your membership had lapsed? That’s the only reason I can think of. And charging for an additional entry? What was that all about? I’ve never had a problem, but I keep my membership going. Am I missing something?

  3. Anon

    Why isn’t there ANY information regarding the destruction of samples? I’ve even called— but that obviously doesn’t do JACK SH*T. I’ve made a huge mistake going through this ridiculously ludicrous “process” and this point I don’t even want my useless (not to mention INAACURATE) results. I gave up something so valuable— for what? A map of the world with different colored blobs? I should’ve done my research I should’ve read the fine print. Ancestry, and other genealogy companies, care less about “discovering heritage” RATHER THEYRE more CONCERNED with racking up dollar bills. These companies don’t keep our information safe— THEY LIE TO US. THEY SELL OUR GENETIC INFORMATION, AGAINST OUR WILLS. THAT IS A MAJOR VIOLATION OF PRIVACY. For anyone considering AncestryDNA or any other company PLEASE RECONSIDER. ITS NOT TOO LATE. DO NOT FALL PREY TO CORPORATE HANDS. IT ISNT WORTH THE RISK.

  4. Jennifer Schulz

    I am leaving a comment and hopefully someone from management reads it. I want everyone to know that because of I found my biological father! I sent in my DNA and six months later I get a match with my grandfather who I didn’t even know was my geandfather! I’ve been searching for my father for over 16 years and now I’ve been talking to him for almost 2 months. I’ve finally found the other half of where I come from and it is an amazing feeling! Thank you so much to ancestry DNA for helping me on this journey!

    • Linda Acomb

      That’s fantastic, and all possible due to I too was fortunate to find out who my grandfather was, now have a complete tree.

  5. Linda Acomb

    Yes is not cheap, BUT people don’t realize costs in backing up your trees/adding new records, etc. I have got my monies worth and beyond! Thru DNA I now know who my paternal grandfather was and had the pleasure to meet some of my cousins. Wish my dad was alive to know who his dad was and that he looked just like him. All possible because
    people like me do the DNA, work hard on our trees, and share pictures of our families, all because of existing. Thank you Ancestry!

  6. Liz

    HI I just want to say that I started doing my family tree in late 1990s. I had lost contact
    with family and had been trying to locate anyone. Well about 5 years ago, I located my cousin who I hadnt seen or talked to since 1970s!! Thanks ANCESTRY – You have filled my blank branches on the tree and helped to find family as well!!

  7. Barbara Hughes

    I want to order a DNA test kit from Ancesty and am unable to remember my old account email account address with them as I have changed my email
    Account I used previously. Can you CGS help me.

  8. Constance Lal

    Question: Is Ancestry doing anything to encourage those with Rh.neg blood type to extend research into origins?
    Could there possibly be a co-operative special listing to mutually fund the pool, (eg, by barterbanking?)

  9. Constance Lal

    I would appreciate any interest to increase understanding of the unex-
    plained origins and would expect administrative input since that would increase participation in Ancestry’s business.

  10. Karen Lee Edwards

    Thank you so much for your website! This past week an unknown half brother and I were connected! It was through our matched DNA that he was able to reach out with his questions. There were no obvious links that we were family. he was adopted. His only information was being told his birth mom was young, his birth date, his place of birth, and his DNA profile. A true event in my family plus my DNA profile made the connection! We are meeting this summer.

    On another note. I am an artist. I have always wondered where this artist gene came from. I thought it very strange to have this gift. Why me?
    My mother was adopted. She is now dealing with severe Alzheimer’s. I needed to find out my history more than ever. Almost two years ago my husband gave me your DNA test kit for my 65th birthday. He said “let’s find your history.” When the test results became known off I went on this trip of a long lifetime!

    I had my doubts. All I had for my maternal side were two birth names, approximate age of my mom’s birth mother, my mom’s place and year of birth. I slowly followed links, identifying and verifying with government and church documents along the way.

    Then on an August day in 2017 I found link to my “artistic genius” (not my words – opinions held by my former professors). John Bacon, England’s Neo-classical sculptor, is a direct descendant!

    On my father’s side I’ve discovered direct descendants who arrived in the New World that would become USA and Canada. My mother’s father is a complete dead end. I understand the reasons for this. I carry his genes (North American native). It is an interesting position for me to be in. Reading the stories of descendants who were Huguenots, pilgrims, voyageurs, filles roí, members of the French military who fought and survived battles against “Indians” and the British while “taming the NewWorld had me thinking “what kind of relationship would I have had with my maternal grandfather had there not been an invasion from the old world?” Curious.

    Thankfully, my paternal family kept records, volumes of records. My paternal grandmother’s side is equally filled with stories of the founding of upper Canada, Iroquois brides, a young girl who pretended to be many people while alone in a Fort. Stories of French grandfathers helping the natives, the natives helping them survive, some fled the British by crossing rivers in the night, some eventually signup to fight in the American Civil War. Really quite remarkable, to me.

    I spent a lifetime wondering about my family’s history hoping knowing would make feel whole. Within a year and a half I have learned where I’m from. My insatiable curiosity has been satiated. The only thing left to do is to meet those who share these amazing descendants. One day I will make a trip to eastern Canada and Western Europe to have face to face conversations with relatives with whom I have yet to meet. Then I will be full!

    Thanks for letting me share this little bit of news. Apologies, for being long winded. There is no real short version.

    Thanks, again, for this service. It is important work!

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