The 10 unique Christmas traditions in the world. A journey through the world through the most surprising and peculiar Christmas traditions. When we think of Christmas, usually in our mind, certain images appear. Maybe the Christmas tree, adorned with spheres and lights and with gifts at its base. Or sing Christmas carols and a fantastic family dinner. They are elements in which we all seem to coincide to celebrate Christmas Eve.
However, there are places with some Christmas traditions that are as strange as they are fascinating. Some of these customs respond to pagan heritages of hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. They have crossed the barrier of time, reaching our days as just another tradition.
The 10 unique Christmas traditions in the world
Most Christian countries have some Christmas traditions are similar. Most of these celebrations recall the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth, representing an enduring symbolism. However, today we are going to talk about the rarest Christmas traditions in the world. In some places, the usual Christmas traditions have coexisted with some very strange ones. In these places, they are seen as something very normal and loved, and they are made year after year. For those of us who are alien to them, they can be really surprising, and in many cases totally incomprehensible.
Although it seems more Halloween, the demon Krampus goes out to scare children at Christmas. People disguised as Krampus, a goat-like demon, take to the streets ringing chains and scaring children. In the Austrian Christmas folklore and in some areas of Germany, Czech Republic or Slovakia there are two protagonists; Santa Claus rewards children who have behaved well and Krampus, his counterpart, punishes those who misbehave by scaring them. It is one of the best unique Christmas traditions in the world.
Although Japan is not a Christian country, they celebrate Christmas in their own way. They have adopted the habit of giving gifts, decorating with lots of lights and even singing Christmas carols. But the strangest tradition at Christmas is your dinner. Many Japanese people dine at KFC (yes, the fried chicken chain) and it’s part of their tradition. It is said that in the ’70s, the chain launched a marketing campaign to persuade the Japanese to dine in their stores. It worked perfectly, and today in Japan Christmas means dinner at KFC. This is one of the best unique Christmas traditions in the world.
In Catalonia, the manager is incomplete if it does not include Caganer. The tradition is to place a figure of a man who is in full defecation. The origin is unknown, but there are different theories. For example, that the cycle of life represented by the feces that fertilize the earth will bring good harvest and luck for next year. There is evidence of the Caganer since the late eighteenth century and traditionally dressed as a peasant with typical Catalan clothing. Currently, there are figures of popular characters as politicians or international artists in the typical position of Caganer.
As with the Austrians, it seems that one of the Norwegian traditions is taken out of Halloween. Norwegians celebrate Christmas by driving away witches. In this country, it is believed that the night before Christmas is the night when witches roam freely. To prevent evil spirits from entering the houses, they hide brooms, brushes or any object that can serve a witch. In addition, they usually shoot their pistols in the air to scare away evil spirits. It is one of the best unique Christmas traditions in the world.
In the Philippines, a giant lantern festival takes place every year. This celebration takes place on the Saturday before Christmas Eve. It consists of an exhibition of several villages that build lanterns to compete for which is the best. In the beginning, the lanterns were made with origami paper and lit with a candle. They measured barely half a meter. Today they show spectacular lanterns of more than six meters and are illuminated with light bulbs. The lanterns today look like kaleidoscopes and look spectacular.
In this country who distributes the gifts is not Santa Claus. Unlike most countries, in Italy, it is said that when the Three Kings went astray, they went to “La Befana” to guide them. Although she could not help them, she gave them lodging and they thanked her and invited her to join. “La Befana” could not join them because she had a lot of work, so the Magi left without her. A few days later he went on his search and it is said that since then he has traveled the world behind the Magi leaving gifts in the houses.
Christmas is hot and on wheels. At that time of the year, it is summer in that country, and there is the circumstance that in its capital, Caracas, people have a peculiar custom. Here the normal thing on Christmas morning is to see the roads closed to vehicular traffic. This is a major setback in a city that has been urbanized more thinking about cars than passersby, so you see crowds of people riding skates. And many of them go to mass. It is one of the best unique Christmas traditions in the world.
In Guatemala, in December the burning of the devil is celebrated. This custom has been carried out in Guatemala for several centuries. Along with this tradition, families usually do deep cleaning in their homes.It is used to take out old and broken objects and put them together in a wooden pyramid. At the top of the construction, they place a devilish figure and then burn. This tradition ends when the house is swept with a straw broom and sprinkled with holy water.
A very beautiful custom that takes place in Latvia. It consists in that at the same time that the gifts are given, a short story or poem is recited. The custom is that for each gift received, you should thank sharing a poem with the rest of the family. Without a doubt a very beautiful custom. It would be a good idea to export it, and maybe it could be easily adopted in the rest of the world. Each in his own way, expressing gratitude through short stories or poems.
During the 13 days before Christmas, Icelandic children who behave well receive a gift each night. In this country, the tradition says that the Yules reward with gifts to children who behave well and give them rotten potatoes to those who have behaved badly. The Yuls are very naughty beings who visit every night dressed in typical Icelandic costumes. Every night the children leave their best shoes so that in return the Yules will leave them a gift.