Odd and Interesting Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Christmas, a time of joy, jingle bells, and jolly decorations, is celebrated across the globe in some truly unique ways. From spider webs in Ukraine to roller skating in Venezuela, let’s embark on a festive journey to discover some of the most bizarre and fascinating Christmas traditions from different corners of the world. Get ready to deck your halls with something a little different this year!

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1. Ukraine: The Tale of the Christmas Spider

In Ukraine, you might find artificial spiders and webs adorning Christmas trees. This peculiar tradition stems from a folk tale about a poor family who couldn’t afford to decorate their tree. On Christmas morning, they woke to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web, turning it into a thing of beauty. So, if you’re tired of tinsel, maybe it’s time to try some sparkly spider webs!

2. Venezuela: Roller Skating to Mass

In the week leading up to Christmas, the residents of Caracas, Venezuela, have a unique tradition of roller-skating to early morning mass. Roads are often closed to cars to allow the skating congregation to pass safely. Imagine swapping your sleigh (or car) for a pair of skates!

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Source: digibuddha

3. Japan: A Finger-Lickin’ Christmas

While many countries feast on turkey or ham, Japan has made KFC a Christmas staple. This unusual tradition began in 1974 following a successful marketing campaign and has stuck ever since. So, for a Christmas with a twist, why not pair your tree with a bucket of chicken?

4. Italy: The Legend of La Befana

In Italy, children await the arrival of La Befana, a friendly witch who delivers gifts on January 5th. Families often leave a small glass of wine and a few morsels of food for her. Decorations sometimes include images of La Befana, adding a touch of whimsy to traditional Christmas decor.

5. Spain: The Pooping Log

Catalonia has a unique tradition called ‘Caga Tió’, or the ‘Pooping Log’. Families create a character out of a log, complete with a face and a blanket to keep it warm. On Christmas Eve, the log is ‘fed’ and then ‘poops’ out presents when hit with sticks by children. A truly quirky way to give gifts!

6. Norway: Hide Those Brooms

Norwegians have an old belief that witches and evil spirits come out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To outsmart these spirits, people hide their brooms before going to bed. Maybe it’s not just the stockings that need hanging up!

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7. Greenland: An Unusual Christmas Delicacy

Christmas in Greenland brings with it some unusual dishes, such as ‘kiviak’, a traditional Inuit food made by fermenting birds in seal skin. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or plate of cookies), it’s certainly one way to create a memorable Christmas dinner!

8. Austria: Krampus, the Christmas Devil

In stark contrast to the jolly St. Nicholas, Austrians also recognize Krampus, a fearsome demon who punishes naughty children during the Christmas season. In some towns, young men dress up as Krampus and roam the streets, creating a slightly terrifying, yet unforgettable holiday experience.

To Wrap It Up…

These traditions, as odd as they may seem, add a unique flavor to the global celebration of Christmas. Whether it’s enjoying a bucket of KFC in Japan or decorating your tree with spider webs in Ukraine, these customs remind us of the wonderfully diverse ways people revel in the holiday spirit. So, this Christmas, why not add a touch of international oddity to your festive decor and see what stories unfold? Happy Holidays!

PS: If these quirky traditions have you dreaming of a Christmas in a new locale, take a peek at our guide to cozy Maltese homes perfect for any festive celebration.