10 Wacky Christmas Traditions From Around the World
By ChanMi Park, Planet Green
What make the holidays super special apart from the food, family and friends, are the traditions. Some traditions are…well, very traditional. But others can be fun and very weird. Here’s a highlight of the weirdest and most interesting Christmas traditions from around the world.
First in line, the Christmas Pickle.
It’s an old tradition where a pickle ornament is hidden on the Christmas tree. The first person to find the pickle among all the other ornament is said to recieve an extra present on Christmas. The tradition has stories originating from the Spain to Germany, but either way it seems like a fun and not to mention weird tradition!
Skating to Mass
From December 16th to December 24th, there’s a very unique tradition that takes place in Caracas, Venezuela. The busy city streets of Caracas are closed off before 8 AM to any motor traffic. This allows the streets to be open to traffic on 4-wheelers! It has been customary in Venezuela to attend Misa de Aguinaldo (Early Morning Mass) and by closing traffic off to bulky cars and buses, everyone can skate to mass on time.
Here’s an odd item you wouldn’t automatically associate with Christmas.
On a Ukrainian Christmas tree the site of a spider or web is not unusual. The folk tale that goes with the tradition says a poor family woke up on Christmas morning to find their once bare tree decorated with spider webs that shined silver and gold in the morning sun.
Christmas crackers or bon-bons are a fun item to celebrate with in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. The cracker is a cardboard tube wrapped in holiday wrapping twisted at the ends. The fun part starts when you hold on to one side of the twisted end, another person holds the other, and you pull! With a BANG, the cracker will split unevenly, and the luckier individual will be holding the longer end of the cracker — which holds a special prize.
Crackers are also a part of New Years celebration in some places. Wouldn’t it be just fun if crackers were a part of every holiday?
Image credit: Sparkly Kate via Flickr
Make reservation for your Christmas Chicken today! Those residing in Japan have already begun the process of pre-ordering their fried chicken for Christmas.
Unlike the traditional ham or turkey Americans are used to seeing during the holidays, many in Japan celebrate by eating fried chicken. While less than 1 percent of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, by the power of marketing and advertising it has become common practice to eat KFC during Christmas. The meal is also accompanied by a delicious Christmas cake for dessert. Let the feasting begin!
In Italy, children will go to bed waiting for a magical being to bring presents, and I don’t mean Santa Claus.
In Italian folklore, an old witch delivers gifts and candy to children on Epiphany Eve (January 5th). Santa’s competitor, La Befana, is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick, usually covered in soot as she enters homes through chimneys. Very similar to the tradition of leaving cookies and milk for Santa, children will leave wine and food out for the Befana.
Image credit: ho visto nina volare via Flickr
Ok — so going along with the Christmas Witch story, here’s one about brooms. There’s a superstition in Norway that advises households to hide their brooms on Christmas Eve. It is believed that witches and evil spirits will rise from the graves and use the brooms to fly through the sky and create chaos until dawn. Doesn’t this sound very much like Halloween?
If there’s a reason to celebrate, you are sure to find all sorts of gatherings! Around this time of the year, there’s a huge Santa gathering in New York City. To celebrate the holiday season, New Yorkers get together dressed up head-to-toe as Christmas characters. The city is filled with reds and greens, as Santas and Elves spread holiday cheer during SantaCon.
Image credit: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr
Radish figures line the central plaza of Oaxaca on December 23rd and 24th. Nativity scenes, conquistadors, dancers, historical and mythological events are sculpted from radishes by Mexican artisans and add to the color holiday celebration. El Festival de los Rabanos (The Festival of Radishes) is a one-of-a-kind festival that features dance, food and delicately carved radishes.
Out of all the wacky traditions, this one is probably the weirdest and funniest of them all.
In the principality of Catalonia, it has become customary to decorate the traditional nativity scene with an extra something, or rather someone. This extra character is known as El Caganer, also known as “the pooper.” While traditionally the ceramic figure has been that of a shepherd, contemporary figures range in all different personalities as you see here.
Do you have an interesting family holiday tradition? Why not try one of these wacky traditions or start a new one.
Image credit: caganer.com