Weird festive traditions around the world

Christmas is different for everyone and it’s likely that most families have their own little idiosyncrasies when it comes to celebrating the festive season. I’ve heard of people who open their presents on Christmas Eve and some who celebrate on the beach (if you live down under).

Here are just a few of the interesting Christmas traditions from around the world…


Deep fried caterpillars


 Probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ‘Christmas’, but nevertheless, in South Africa these crawly critters are considered a festive delicacy. I think I’ll stick to turkey…


Hide your brooms


In Norway, there’s no cleaning on Christmas Eve (they probably have the right idea). All brooms are hidden from sight just in case witches and evil spirits come along and steal them. Who enjoys cleaning on Christmas Eve anyway…?


KFC anyone?


I have to say, I can’t imagine my family sitting around the table tucking into a bargain bucket on Christmas Day (not that I’d be too disappointed). However, thanks to a marketing campaign in 1974 called ‘Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!’, the Japanese supposedly love digging into a KFC on Christmas Day. The tradition has grown in popularity to such an extent that it can take two hours to queue up for the festive meal, with many people ordering months in advance.


Who says Christmas Day has to be on the 25th?

In Ethiopia people celebrate Christmas on January 7th to coincide with the old Julian calendar. In the Ethiopia Orthodox Church, Christmas is in fact known as Ganna. People normally fast on Christmas Eve (the 6th) and then on the day itself they dress in a white garment called a shamma before tucking into a hearty meal of stew and vegetables.


Evil Krampus


In Austria, kids grow up with the tradition of Krampus, St Nicholas’ wicked accomplice. According to the legends, Krampus is a demon-like being who punishes children who have been bad. To make it all the more scary, men dress up as Krampus and wander the streets over the Christmas period, just to frighten the kids. And you thought getting coal in your stocking was bad!


Getting the boot

The Germans begin their Christmas celebrations on December the 5th when its customary for children to leave a shoe or boot outside their bedroom door. If they have been good, they’ll awake the next day to find a branch covered in sweets as a treat. However, if they have been badly behaved they will only get the branch!


Have you got any weird Christmas traditions?

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