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 Norway
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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