9 Strange Christmas Traditions
Christmas is a time when family and friends get together to give each other gifts as well as sit down to eat a lavish meal. Although the birth of Jesus is the reason for the celebration in the traditional sense, different places around the world have their own unique Christmas traditions. These traditions may be viewed as somewhat strange – some with ties to history – but still interesting.
#1: A celebration for a sinister creature
On Krampusnacht, held before the feast of St Nicholas, groups of men will be dressed as Krampus (a creature serving as St Nicholas’ companion and is responsible for whipping children who have behaved badly). During this event, groups of men parade through town trying to terrify the young ones.
#2: The “defecating log”
Called caga tió in Catalonia, this tradition involves creating a grinning creature from a small log a fortnight before Christmas and placing it on the dining room table. Each day, it must be fed fruit, nuts and sweets. On Christmas Eve, it will be beaten with sticks resulting in it excreting what it had consumed.
#3: Roller skating to church
A custom in Caracas, Venezuela, streets are closed off to vehicles each year between 16 and 24 December so that people can roller-skate to church to attend early morning Christmas mass. As roller-skating church-goers make their way to mass, they will tug on string that children tied to their big toe and hung out the window.
#4: A KFC Christmas
Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but families heading out to KFC – yes, the American fast food chain – for a bucket of “Christmas Chicken” has become a Xmas tradition in the country. This can be traced to the widely successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii” or Kentucky for Christmas campaign launched in 1974 when foreigners couldn’t find turkey on Christmas Day and opted for the next best thing: chicken.
#5: Shoe toss for a husband
On Christmas Eve, single Czech women stand with their backs facing the front door. They then remove one shoe then chuck it over their shoulder in the direction of the door. How the shoe lands determines the state of their love life for the year: they are destined to marry if the toe of the shoe faces the door but have to wait another year if it’s the heel.
#6: A spooky Christmas
Normally, spider webs are associated with Halloween. But in the Ukraine, their Christmas tree is draped in spider webs. Why is that? Tradition states that a spider wove a web on a poor family’s Christmas tree and when this web turned to precious metals when they woke up in the morning. In short, the webs symbolize prosperity for the coming year.
#7: Hiding brooms
Christmas Eve is said to coincide with the arrival of evil spirits and witches in Norway. In order to protect themselves, families hide their brooms before getting to bed.
#8: Strange delicacies
In Britain, Christmas is associated with brussel sprouts. But Greenland just takes the game up ten notches with their mattak (raw whale skin with blubber) and kiviak (an auk bird wrapped in seal skin and buried for several months).
#9: Dining with the dead
Setting a place at the dining table for the dearly departed is practiced in Portugal. Doing this is said to bring good luck to the family.
We all have our customs and traditions but Christmas is always a time to celebrate with family and friends. If you live far away, what better way to bring cheer than by sending a bouquet of flowers for the occasion? Here at Clare Florist, we have a range of Christmas bouquets that are perfect to give to family and friends.