The year surely does end quickly, but not without a bang. December, may just be the favorite month for many, and why not? The festivities that line-up throughout the month are worth relishing in. If the red socks, mistletoes and jingling bells aren’t enough for you to get excited for the upcoming Christmas celebrations, the yummy cakes and delicacies ought to bring some delight. Christmas may be one of the most widely celebrated festivals all over the world, but the traditional way of celebrating it differs from place to place. Here are our top picks of the world’s most unique celebrations and traditions on Christmas.
BBQ & Kangaroos, Australia
Not all of us experience snow during Christmas. Since, Australia lies in the Southern Hemisphere, the country experiences summers during the Big day. Their tradition says, since Santa can get pretty tired riding his reindeers down south, he switches it up for ‘six white boomers’ or Kangaroos. Another interesting way to celebrate the Big Day is to enjoy BBQ by the beach with family and friends. Most Australian cities also have collective Carol Singing on Christmas Eve, with traditional folk songs and famous Australian singers joining in. This event is so popular that it is broadcast-ed on television throughout Australia.
Roller Skating to Church, Venezuela
An active way to celebrate Christmas with one’s family includes roller-skating to Church. If not anywhere else, this tradition surely does take place in Venezuela’s capital, Caracus. From 6th to 24th December, the roads in the city are blocked in the morning so that people can roller-skate their way to the Church for mass. Christmas in Venezuela is also one of the most colorful in Latin America with firework shows and depictions of Native Scenery.
Caga Tio, Catalonia, Spain
We all may be familiar with the Christmas log and its significance, but in Catalonia there remains a figure of the ‘pooping log’. Catalonians believe that if the log is fed well, then in return, they get gifts from it. Another ‘pooping’ figure that raids the streets of Catalonia during Christmas is of ‘’El Caganer” which is basically the figure of a peasant bent to poop with the traditional Catalan red cap on his head. This figure is a part of the nativity scenery during Christmas. So much was the obsession with this figure, that a couple of years back a huge model of it was placed near a shopping district in Barcelona!
‘Posada’ processions, Mexico
Christmas celebrations in Mexico start by the 16th of December in what is known as Posadas. The procession of posadas signifies the hunt for a place to stay by Mary and Joseph. This particular tradition is carried on for 9 days, and each day a house decorates itself as a posada, meaning ‘’Inn or Lodge”. Children singing carols about Mary and Joseph come asking to stay at the Inn and once allowed to enter, the festivities take place in full swing. Christmas celebrations last for a long period of time in Mexico and officially end by the 2nd of February only.
Krampus and Nicholas, Austria/Germany
Austria has many of its traditions and celebratory customs shared with its neighboring countries. The most popular amongst these celebratory customs is the story of Krampus, a beast-like creature with horns who is covered in rags. It is said that Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas Klaus and carries a stick and chains in his hand. The figure of Krampus is often used to scare children who misbehave as he is said to punish them.
Hiding Brooms, Norway
A rather bizarre Christmas tradition in Norway includes hiding their brooms on Christmas Eve. It is said that Norwegians hide away their brooms in fear of witches and evil spirits who might ride away in them. The tradition had started surfacing centuries back, however is still kept alive by many locals. Another custom is to leave rice porridge for ‘Nisse’ a hobgoblin, who is said to guard the farm animals.
Finding Cobwebs, Ukraine
Spiders might give some of us the creepiest vibes but apparently their webs bring good luck. In a unique and bizarre scenario, cobwebs are made on Christmas trees all over Ukraine for a prosperous and wealthy year. According to a local folklore, once a poor woman didn’t have enough money to decorate her Christmas tree and when she woke up on Christmas morning, she saw cobwebs on the tree. The catch however was, that the cobwebs turned to gold as soon as the rays of sun hit them! Thus, seeing cobwebs on Christmas day is said to bring wealth!
KFC Dinner in Japan
Although Christmas doesn’t remain a dominant festival in Japan, it has become a day to divulge in fast food since the past few years. In an ad a few years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken, released a brand new menu for Christmas, giving people to celebrate yet another day. Not only this, the global fast food brand gives away Christmas themed buckets and wrappers for the special edition on the 25th. This is one family dinner you don’t want to miss out on!
Feeding The Dead, Portugal
During the main Christmas meal, known as ‘consoda’, most families slip another chair for the deceased of the family and serve food. This is said to bring good luck and wealth to the family, with the help of the deceased (their blessing). Although started a few centuries back, and mostly not practiced in modern day cities, some country folks still practice the deed.
La Befana, Italy
It seems that Santa chalked off Italy from his map, and instead la Befana, the kind witch came to the rescue. It is said that the good witch, La Befana goes around distributing sweet to the good kids in Italy. She is said to do so because apparently she didn’t go to give her blessings to Jesus when he was born, so now she distributes sweets to the good kids instead.