21 unusual Christmas traditions around the world
21 unusual Christmas traditions around the world
Christmas trees, preparing treats for Santa and his reindeers, eating turkey together, and singing carols – all these are part of the Christmas picture as most of us know it. However, the most awaited celebration of the year does not look the same for everyone; some people may have unusual Christmas traditions that would dazzle the majority. Here are just some of these unusual habits for your entertainment:
1. Punishment for naughty children
Children in Austria fear Krampus, a devil said to beat the naughty ones with branches on Christmas.
2. Hiding brooms
In Norway, people hide brooms so witches and evil spirits don’t steal them.
3. Eating at KFC
In Japan, people have been eating at KFC for Christmas ever since 1974 due to a very powerful advertising campaign.
4. Decorating banana trees
In India, typical Christmas trees are hard to find so banana or mango trees are decorated instead.
5. Going to church on roller skates
In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, people go to church on Christmas Day on roller skates; roads are closed for this purpose.
6. Remembering those who are gone
In Portugal, families prepare extra places at the Christmas dinner for deceased relatives – this tradition though to bring good luck is called “consoda”.
7. Spiders in the Christmas tree
In Ukraine, people decorate the Christmas tree with a fake spider and a web; the custom is based on the legend of a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree and woke up on Christmas Day to find a spider, which had covered the tree in a beautiful glittering web.
8. Predicting your love life
Unmarried Czech women predict their love lives for the next year by standing with their back at the front door and throwing shoes over the shoulder. If the toe of the shoe is pointed towards the door, the woman will find a suitable man the next year.
9. Extra gift if you find the pickle
In Germany families hide a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. The first child who finds it receives a small gift.
10. Going to the sauna
In Estonia families go together to the sauna on Christmas Eve.
11. Tribute to the dead
It’s not only the Portuguese that remember their deceased family members on Christmas. Finnish people light candles at the graves of the departed, making graveyards an amazing sight.
12. Letters FROM Santa
In Canada, letters to Santa are opened and replied to by volunteers on condition that you address them to Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO.
13. Dirt is bad
In Guatemala, people clean their houses before Christmas and gather the waste in a large pile. They place an effigy of the devil on top of the pile and then set it on fire.
14. Santa Claus is out of a job
In Italy, Santa Claus or Babbo Natale is less popular, at least until the last years. Instead, it’s an old lady called La Befana travelling on a broom stick who delivers gifts to children on the 5th of January.
15. Cooking together
In Great Britain, family members stir the Christmas pudding together in a clockwise manner before it is cooked and make a wish as they do it.
16. Find the almond to get married
In Sweden, families prepare a festive rice pudding and hide an almond inside. The one who finds is thought to get married the next year.
17. The Yule Cat
In Iceland, an evil beast called the Yule Cat or Jólakötturinn is thought to wander hills and eat those who haven’t received new clothes before Christmas Eve.
18. Gifts in children’s shoes
In the Philippines, children leave their cleaned and polished shoes on windowsills waiting for the Three Kings to leave gifts at night; the Feast of the Three Kings marks the end of Christmas celebrations.
19. Eating a decomposed bird
In Greenland, people eat Kiviak or fermented birds on Christmas. They place the bird in the carcass of a seal seven months before so it is ready for winter holidays.
20. Celebrating with vegetables
In Mexico, people use radishes, Brussels sprouts, and roast parsnips to carve the characters in the nativity scene for The Noche de Rabanos.
21. Someone pooping in the nativity scene
This is probably the weirdest thing to do for Christmas – in Catalonia, there is a figure called the Caganer in the nativity scene with his pants down and having a poo. This custom dates back from the 17th or 18th century and there is no explanation for it.
Although Christmas brings everyone together and highlights what we have in common, the variety of customs, some of them quite weird, making this celebration different in every culture. So, Christmas is not just a time to make the humanity more united, but also a moment when you can learn something new about other cultures and become aware of the stunning diversity of the world.
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