Christmas Traditions Around the World – What does Christmas mean to you? Santa Claus? Christmas Trees? Christmas ornaments? Family holiday time? Well, for most people, Christmas does mean these things only. However, you will be surprised to know about some unique Christmas traditions around the world that are more than just Xmas trees, Santa, or decorations!
Related: Typical Christmas Traditions.
You will find Christmas devil, mythical beasts, weird marriage rituals, and even Fried Chicken during these Christmas customs and traditions. Celebrating Christmas in these countries or cities can prove to be a lifetime experience for you. In all these places, the different way of celebrations makes Christmas a truly global festival. After all, it is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Discover these Christmas traditions around the world which go way beyond that your regular Christmas celebrations:
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1. Pooping Man in Catalonia, Spain, Portugal and Italy
Among all weird Christmas customs and traditions, the image of a defecating man in various regions is perhaps the weirdest. Often known as the shitter or Caganer, the image of this man is often used in Christmas decorations. This is most common in Catalan tradition. However, it does not mean any disrespect to the festival. On the contrary, it is a sign of good luck and harvest in future (because poo is a good fertilizer for soil!).
2. Christmas Means KFC in Japan
Thanks to a genius KFC commercial in 1978, in Japan, you have to order months in advance to eat a KFC meal on Christmas. It is the most important Christmas tradition in Japan to have fried chicken from the Colonel on the Christmas. Christmas is not even an official holiday in the country yet families celebrate the festival by eating a KFC meal. Due to this reason, December 25 has become one of the biggest sales days of the year for the company!
3. La Befana in Italy
More than Santa Claus, a good, old witch named La Befana flying on the broomstick is most popular among kids in Italy. Instead of Christmas, she comes on the Epiphany Eve on January 5th. Like Santa, she also brings gifts for children. According to ancient traditions, La Befana searches for the baby Jesus and that is why brings gifts and sweets for kids!
4. Spider Web Christmas Decorations in Ukraine
Unlike Christmas baubles and ornaments, in Ukraine, people use spider web decorations on Christmas. However, it not associated with anything evil or haunting. In fact, the spider web is considered in positive light according to the legend of the Christmas spider in Ukraine. Nevertheless, it is one of the unique Christmas traditions around the world.
5. Broom Hiding in Norway
6. Christmas Devil Krampus in Austria
Contrary to Santa Claus who rewards children with gifts and sweets on Christmas, the Christmas Devil Krampus punishes the bad kids. Stories in the regions of Europe describe him as a companion of Santa who looks like half goat and half demon! In Austria, children celebrating Christmas with mention of Krampus is still a debatable issue since he is considered as an evil character!
7. Mythical Beast Yule Cat in Iceland
In Iceland, people believe that a mythical beast known as Yule Cat looks for lazy people who do not work hard and eats them! It is an ancient story to make children work hard as well as to buy new Christmas clothes. Moreover, the story seems to have an effect as Iceland has the highest number of people who work overtime in whole Europe!
8. Yule Goat in Sweden
In a Swedish town called Gavle, it is a custom to make a giant straw goat every year before Christmas. However, the goat was burned numerous times in past by some people which led to an illegal Xmas tradition to burn the goat before Christmas. Every year some people try to burn the huge goat, but the local authorities increase the security with each passing year. Last year, a drunk man was able to burn the goat on December 27.
9. Single Woman Marriage Ritual in the Czech Republic
If you are single and want to know when you will get married, head to the Czech Republic to celebrate Christmas this year. This unusual Christmas custom involves women throwing a shoe over their shoulders while they stand with back to a door. Upon landing, if the toe of shoe points to the door, you will get married soon! However, you would have to wait long to get married if the heel of the shoe points to the door!
10. Giant Lantern Festival in Philippines
On the Christmas Eve, the City of San Fernando in the Philippines celebrate the Giant Lantern Festival. Here people organize competitions for the most beautiful lanterns. Due to the vast scale of celebrations and its immense popularity, City of San Fernando is also known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”
11. Roller Skating to Church in Caracas, Venezuela
Like many other Catholic countries, people in Caracas of Venezuela visit the Church on the occasion of Christmas. However, in the early mornings, streets are closed between December 17 and December 24 in Caracas. So, people visit the church for Early Morning Mass on roller skates on this day! Quite a different and fun way to celebrate Christmas, don’t you agree?
You will not regret visiting these places for your holidays. These Christmas traditions around the world are fascinating and deserve to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. You follow various family Christmas traditions every year.
This year, do something different and visit these places for a unique way of celebrations! If you are not interested, you can check out these evergreen Christmas traditions which you can follow with your family!
Also Read: Nerdy Christmas Ideas.