Christmas is all about Christmas carols, Santa Clause, and stockings, right?
Not for everyone. Turns out there are some pretty weird traditions out there.
1. Germany & Austria – Krampus, the devilish creature
Kids, meet Krampus – a mythical hairy beast that walks around the city during the festive period in search of naughty children – he is someone you don’t want to mess with.
2. Norway – Hide your broom!
Norwegians believe that Christmas coincides with the arrival of evil spirits and witches, and as such everyone hides their brooms before they sleep so witches won’t hang around.
3. India – Christmas Mango & Banana trees
There are no pine and fir trees in India so banana and mango trees are decorated instead.
4. Ukraine – Festive Spider Webs
Ukrainians uniquely decorate their Christmas trees with artificial spiders and webs. This comes from a traditional tale where a poor woman could not afford Christmas decorations and went to sleep with the tree all bare. When she awoke, a spider had covered the tree in its sparkling web. Hence, they believe that seeing spider webs in Christmas is good luck. Thanks, but I think I will still decorate my tree with glittering ornaments.
5. Venezuela – Christmas Skating
It is customary in Caracas for people to travel on roller skates to early morning church services called Misa de Aguinaldo. This tradition is so well established that on the day, streets are closed from 8 am. What a fun way to go to church!
6. Italy – La Befana, the Good Witch
According to the custom, just like Santa Clause, a good witch named Befana, visits children and fills their stockings with presents if they’ve been good during the year.
7. Greenland – Feasting on decomposed birds
A not so delicious festive delicacy- Kiviak is made from wrapping an auk (small arctic bird) in seal skin and burying it for several months. You can then eat its decomposed flesh. I think we’ll stick to Turkey, but thanks.
8. Portugal – The Consoda
During the Consoda, or in other words the traditional Christmas feast, families set extra plates at the dining table for their deceased relatives. This practice is thought to bring good luck.
9. Japan – KFC
Forget the Christmas Turkey, for the Japanese, traditional Christmas dinner is KFC.
This custom began in 1974 when KFC released a marketing campaign in Japan with the slogan “Kentucky for Christmas!” and shaped the way the Japanese celebrate Christmas.
10. South Africa – Deep Fried Caterpillars
On Christmas Day, instead of mince pies, South Africans feast on caterpillars from the Emperor moth. Yummy!