Unique Christmas traditions around the World
Christmas is just around the corner and celebrations are brewing all over the world. Each country has its own Christmas tradition making it a special family holiday. Leaving treats out for Santa or decorating the Christmas tree, here is a list of few unusual traditions practiced by nations that celebrate Christmas.
Australia: Rudolph, the red nosed Kangaroo
Christmas here falls in the summers so it’s become a tradition to bring out the barbecue on the beach and enjoy with friends and families. Another tradition calls for Father Christmas to swap his reindeers for Kangaroos.
Brazil: Presents in shoes
Children receive their presents not in stocking but in shoes from Papa Noel. Brazilians celebrate a legend that on Christmas nights animals gain the power of speech.
Bulgaria: Stick patting
Koleduvane, this tradition involves young boys singing Christmas carols outside neighbor’s house and patting them on the back with decorated sticks.
Czech Republic: The golden Pig/ Cherry twig
Two main traditions are followed by Czech people in which firstly a girl at the age of marrying put a cherry twig in water on December 4th and if it blossoms before Christmas Eve than it is believed that she’ll get married the following year.
The second tradition is followed by families as they are taught not to eat anything on Christmas Eve as a special dinner is served and they try to see the appearance of a mystical ‘golden pig’.
Germany, Austria, Switzerland: Santa’s spooky helper
St. Nikolaus, the saint on whom Santa Claus is based, comes with a scary helper to warn children to stay good. La Pere Fouettard, a similar character in France also plays a part in the French celebrations.
Greece: Basil and burning shoes
Old shoes are burned to bring in good luck for the coming year. Another tradition is to wrap basil around a cross and use to sprinkle water around the house to keep away killantzaroi, the mischief making goblins.
Greenland: Rotting bird feast
Kiviak is enjoyed as a part of the feast that also includes mattak and slices of raw whale skin. Kiviak, a bird is decomposed by burying it under a stone for few monthsand is wrapped in seal skin.
Iceland: 13 Santa
Iceland believes in 13 Santa who come down one by one from the mountains during the festive season leaving presents or rotten potatoes for children depending on the child’s behavior.
India: Decorating Mango trees
Fir trees aren’t a common sight in the sub-continent so instead mango trees are decorated and its leaves are used to decorate homes.
Italy: Presents on a broomstick
La Befana, a good witch comes not on a sleigh but a broomstick on the 6th of January to deliver presents to the children who have been good but if not then lumps of coal are to be expected.
Jamaica: John Canoe parade
The John Canoe parade marks the Christmas festive season and has been a part since the times of slavery. People dress up in masks and costumes.
Mexico: Carving radishes
The Festival of Radishes sees farmers carve the vegetables in to human figures.
Netherlands: Sinterklaas and Black Peter
Santa is called Sinterklaas in Holland and doesn’t live in North Pole but in Spain. Sinterklaas comes with a helper called Black Peter and not an elf that too in a steam boat.
Poland: Iron under the table
A piece of iron is placed under the Christmas dinner table to make sure everyone has strong legs including the table.
Scandinavia: Porridge and not cookies or carrot
Tomte, a gnome character is believed to protect barns and bring presents and children leave a bowl of porridge for him.
Serbia: Tying up parents
Two Sundays before Christmas, children tie up their mom and she has to pay a ransom of presents to get freed. Same happens with dad on the next Sunday.
Ukraine: Spider webs on the trees
The Christmas trees in Ukraine are decorated with spider webs, it is not a Halloween but a Christmas tradition as legend has it that once a poor family was visited by a magic spider that turned the webs in their home to gold and silver.
Venezuela: Roller skating to Church
The roads in the capital city are closed off so the locals’ roller skate to the Church for morning mass. They even tie pieces of strings to their blades so people can drag them along in case they oversleep.