From fasting before Christmas Eve to celebrating Christmas on January sixth, per the old calendar and tradition, Christmas has many different, and at times completely unique traditions, across different parts of the globe.
Here are some Christmas traditions from across the world that range from funny to cool to just plain weird.
In Catalonia, a region in Northeastern Spain, a ‘pooping log’ (or Caga Tio) is prepared and fed morsels of food till Christmas. On Christmas day the stick is beaten to release sweets and ultimately burned.
Additionally an unusual figure called ‘El Caganer‘ which means ‘the poo-er’ (and no that is not made up) is often used as decoration. And you guessed it right, it is the figure of a defecating man.
The only Asian country to have a majority catholic population, Filipinos use a Christmas decoration made out of bamboo pole called the ‘parol‘ which has lighted star lantern on it.
This decoration is more popular than any other traditional Christmas decoration, because Filipinos truly believe that stars will guide you home!
Certain regions such as the Bernese Oberland region, have processions starting on Christmas Day and finishing on New Year’s Eve, carried out by the ‘Trychle’ people.
They participate in a parade by wearing cow bells called Trychler and donning masks. The parade is supposed to be loud and noisy so as to drive away evil spirits.
It is believed that not just Santa Claus but tiny gnomes called ‘Nisse‘ also bring in presents and thus gnomes figurines are commonly used as a decoration.
Additionally, every year Norway gifts a big Christmas Tree to the UK to thank them for their help during the World War II. The tree is displayed at Trafalgar square every year.
While attending mass is a normal Christian activity, the people in the capital city of Caracas have their own twist to it. Here the mass is attended by people rolling to churches on roller skates. The streets are emptied by 8 p.m. every night to ensure safety.
Now that’s a cool walk!
As part of the Christmas feast, a specially decorated loaf of bread called pita is prepared which has coins baked into it. The person who finds the coin is supposed to receive good luck.
Talk about a crunchy bite!
The Christmas decorations are quite different here. Instead of baubles, trinkets or tiny angels, Christmas trees are decorated by spider web, which is supposed to bring in good luck.
8. Czech Republic
When it comes to superstitions, Czech can easily give India a run for it’s money. One of the more famous superstitions associated with Christmas is that if a young woman wants to get married she should throw a shoe over her shoulder towards the door, on Christmas day. If the toe points towards the door, she will be married soon!
The Greek believe that Kallikantzaroi, which is a race of evil goblins, lurk underground and for 12 days from Christmas till January sixth, they can come up and create havoc.
Thus, once a day someone, usually the mother of the family, dips the cross and basil into some holy water and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house so as to ward off the evil spirits.
Canada is the sweetest when it comes to Christmas. Having proudly declared itself as the home of Santa Claus (thought Iceland may argue), the Canada Post accepts every letter addressed to the official Santa Claus address and makes sure they send a reply too!
Now that’s a Christmas tradition we love!
Even though Britishers are quite the sticklers for tradition, especially when it comes to celebrating festivals, they do have a disciplinarian twist to Christmas.
If the kids have been naughty during the year, they are given coals instead of sweets in their stockings. That’s some serious burn!
People in Argentina truly believe in lighting up the sky at Christmas Eve. Thus, they prepare globos which are paper decorations with light inside (similar to Chinese Lanterns) and let them float up in the sky on Christmas Eve.
People often stay up late at night, outside their homes, to observe the well lit sky.
Unlike the rest of the world, Australia celebrates Christmas when it is summer time for them. So Santa Claus sheds his traditional attire for summer clothes and Santa’s reindeer are allowed to rest while 6 kangaroos take their place.
They even have local carols replacing words like cold with Australian slangs and calling kangaroos as bloomers.
The prevailing belief for Austrian children is that ‘Christkind’- a young winged boy with golden hair who supposed to be new born Jesus – decorates the Christmas Tree.
Additionally, the Austrian children live in the fear of a Christmas Devil called Krampus which beats naughty children.
Slovakia has a tradition that elders may indulge in but seems to be more suited for the kids. A spoonful of loksa, a traditional Christmas pudding, is thrown on the ceiling and the more it sticks the luckier it is. It is the job of the eldest male member in the family to throw the pudding.
So which tradition would you want to pick up?