10 Bizarre Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Think your family’s traditions are odd? The world is filled with unique and bizarre Christmas traditions. Here are 10 of the most wonderfully odd Christmas time traditions from across the globe:

Hide brooms in NorwayPrint

Long ago, Norwegians believed that Christmas Eve was a day when witches and mischievous spirits would come out in search of one thing: brooms to steal and fly into the sky. Norwegians traditionally refrain from cleaning on Christmas Eve, instead locking away their brooms to prevent them from being stolen.

Carve radishes in Oaxaca, Mexico

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Since 1897, large radishes have been carved into intricate figurines during the Yule Tide season. In fact, the is an annual Night of the Radishes festival every December 23rd. What began as a way for merchants to attract shoppers to their stands is now a hugely popular part of Oaxacan Christmas tradition.

Feast on fried chicken in Japan

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We can thank KFC for this one. In December of 1974, KFC promoted fried chicken as a good Christmas dinner meal with its “Kentucky for Christmas” ad campaign. The campaign was incredibly successful, and KFC fried chicken for Christmas has been a popular tradition ever since.

Decorate with spiders in Ukraine

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In Ukraine, as well as other countries, finding a spider or a spider’s web on your Christmas tree is considered good luck, thanks to the traditional Legend of the Christmas Spider. Ukrainians celebrate this by creating paper and wire spiders to use as tree ornaments and using tinsel-like decorations to mimic spider webs.

Whack a smiley-face poop log in Spain

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Every December 8th, a hollow Christmas “poop” log is propped onto a stick, given a face, and fed with nuts, dried fruits and water. Children are tasked with feeding the log every day and keeping it warm with a blanket at night. On Christmas Eve, children beat the log with sticks until it releases its contents while singing a scatological traditional song. After enough of a beating, the log magically poops out candies and presents!

Get cozy with the Krampus in Austria

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The Krampus is Father Christmas’s terrifying companion, and Austrians love celebrating him. Thousands of people gather each year to watch dozens and dozens of Krampus impersonators take over the streets. The Krampus is said to beat naughty children at Christmas time and put them into a wicker basket he carries on his back. While Santa provides gifts when we’re nice, the Krampus provides festive punishment.

Give a rooster corn to see if you’ll get married in Belarus

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Around Christmas time, a fun (if not strange) game is played with single women in Belarus. A pile of corn is placed in front of each single woman. A rooster is then plopped into the middle. Whoever gets her corn pecked by the rooster first will be the next to marry.

Hurl a shoe over your shoulder in the Czech Republic

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Czechs have this interesting Christmas superstition. It starts with a woman throwing a shoe over her shoulder on Christmas day. If the toe lands facing the front door, she will likely get married this year! If not, then marriage isn’t in her near future.

Hit the sauna in Finland

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Saunas are almost a holy place in Finland, generally regarded as a place of purity. After a hefty Christmas lunch, traditional Finns will head to a sauna to cleanse their bodies. In rural Finland, it is also said that the spirits of dead ancestors prefer to visit the saunas just after sunset on Christmas day.

Tie string around your toe in Venezuela

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From December 16 to 24, Caracas’s streets are closed to traffic until 8am to make way for those roller skating to early morning mass. Children tie a piece of string to their big toe before bed and hang the other end out their window. When it is time to go to mass, passing roller skaters tug on the string to wake the children up!

Does your family have any strange, unique, or interesting Christmas traditions? Share them in the comments section below!

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Photo Credit: Expedia

105 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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John B
John B6 months ago

Thanks for sharing the interesting info.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill7 months ago

Thanks

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Ant m
Ant m7 months ago

tks ...

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Amanda M
Amanda M7 months ago

My kids and I make "reindeer food," which is a mix of oats, birdseed, and colored sugar (it's more environmentally friendly than glitter) that we scatter on the front lawn along with sliced carrots for Santa's reindeer on the night of Christmas Eve, then we go inside and watch "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" followed by reading "The Night Before Christmas" at bedtime (at least for our ten-year-old). We also leave cookies and eggnog out for Santa. That's all on top of our Yule traditions of decorating the tree and eating a steak dinner by the light of oil lamps (symbolizing the rebirth of the Sun). It's not easy celebrating two major holidays four days apart!

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Sheri P
Sheri P8 months ago

Hahaha, I love the radish tradition in Oaxaca! Again, it's very interesting to read about traditions in other cultures.

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heather g
heather g8 months ago

Well, that's more interesting than eating, and eating and eating some more !! Midnight mass is also held by Anglicans in South Africa and many churches in Canada.

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Berny p
berny p8 months ago

One learns everyday...at every age!

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

@ Anne M : sorry to read your disgusting comment on Spain. It are traditions, may be existing for over 100 / 200 years. And even when you can not appreciate their traditions, you don't have the right to say "Spain is a disgrace".... How dare you !!!! I am quite sure you have never been there, or you don't know Spanish people. They are worm, loving and caring, compassionate and certainly NOT A DISGRACE. Mind your words when writing comments on a whole nation. And now wash your mouth and rinse it !!

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx8 months ago

Nice, strange and for the most of us totally unknown traditions. As far as I know, apart from putting a christmas tree, with all kind of balls and lights in it, eating turkey and drinking wine, and giving each other presents, nowadays there are no more traditions. I really can not see any other special things we do for Christmas. Before, we used to go to the Church for a midnight mass, and afterwards, most priests served us some glühwein with special bread with nuts / chocolate. But now, it is very difficult to find a church where there still is a midnight mass. You may be lucky in finding one around 9 or 10 pm. and that's it.

What I miss with Christmas each year more and more, is that with the Christian / Catholic people, the original meaning of Christmas has totally faded. Till about 30/40 years ago, we all went to the Church and prayed for peace on earth, for each and all of us. Even for peace within families, or with neighbours or colleagues, etc.. Now nobody even talks about peace anymore. It is just a commercial happening with lots of food, drinking and big presents. PITTY !!

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