Christmas Eve is approaching, and I hope you’re getting ready for a nice little celebration ???? But then again, define nice. Is it coal in stockings? Is it throwing pudding at the ceiling? Or burning straw goats? According to my list of the 18 weird Christmas traditions, real Christmas is all of those things! Want to learn a bit more in detail? Keep on reading!
18 Weird Christmas Traditions
In Latvia, people dress up in costumes, put masks on their faces and go from house to house, asking for a treat in return for a blessing. It’s kind of like Halloween but the other way around.
Greece isn’t just famous for its ancient Greek gods but also for its evil goblins. According to an old belief, those nasty creates lurk underground for 12 days straight before Christmas and cause all kinds of trouble.
Since 1966, the authorities in the Swedish city of Gävle install a huge straw goat to celebrate the festive season. But people in Sweden, it appears, don’t like to celebrate. So every single year they’ve been putting the goat on fire, snickering in the meantime.
While the rest of the world is waiting for cheerful and merry Santa, children in Austria are dreading the coming of Krampus — a Christmas devil who is supposed to beat the naughty kids with branches. And leave no presents, of course.
Speaking of naughty children: in England, if you’ve been misbehaving the whole year, your Christmas gift will be a lump of coal that you’ll randomly find in your stockings.
But if you’re in Iceland, however, look out for what’s inside of your shoes: according to the Icelandic tradition, children must leave a shoe on a windowsill 12 days before Christmas and watch it being filled with sweets and gifts every day. What a lovely little tradition to look up for, isn’t it?
But not for the Finnish people. Those folks believe that Christmas isn’t about looking up — it’s about looking back. In Finland, Christmas is a time to honour the dead. So if you’re ever at a Finnish cemetery during Christmas (because, well, why not?), be prepared to feast your eyes upon some marvellously candled graves.
But if you don’t want to do anything with death over Christmas, come to Japan. In that country, to avoid any association with funerals, you’ll never see a red Christmas card. Ever. Only white.
In Italy, children don’t care about Santa Claus whatsoever, by the way. Instead. they’re looking forward to seeing Befana — a friendly witch who brings toys and candies on the 5th of January.
In Ethiopia, by the way, people also don’t celebrate Christmas in December. Instead, it is on January 7. Ethiopians wear all white that day and play a game called ganna that is kind of like hockey with sticks and wooden balls.
Craving for pickles? Why don’t you pick one from a Christmas tree in Germany! According to some weird German tradition, you have to hide a pickle in the Christmas tree, and the first one to discover where it’s hidden receives an extra gift.
If you want to brighten up your Christmas table, by the way, go to South Africa. There, you’ll find the locals deep-frying caterpillars of the Emperor Moth, one of the coolest-looking butterflies. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Another yummy tradition is found in Slovakia, with a little exception that you don’t eat but throw the food you cook. It all looks like that: the eldest man of the Slovakian family takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and throws it up. The more it sticks to the ceiling, the better.
The king of the Christmas table is, however, the dish of mattak that you can eat in Greenland. Basically, it is whale skin with blubber inside. They say it’s impossible to chew. Another delicacy from Greenland that is also served during Christmas is called kiviak. Civic is the raw flesh of little auks (those are some arctic birds) that have been stuffed into sealskin, left there for several months until having reached “an advanced stage of decomposition”. Doesn’t is sound absolutely mouth-watering?
“Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOH OHO”. This, my friends, as a real address. In Canada, every letter address to Santa is opened by Canada Post, read and replied to. I wonder if they also send gifts?
If you want to have as many gifts as you’d like, better go to Great Britain, the country of Christmas pudding. There, an old tradition requires each and every member of the family stir the pudding mix clockwise, making a wish as they do so. So imagine if you stir it, say, 12 times — does that mean you’re gonna get 12 gifts? I hope so!
For all the single girls out there: to find out when you’re going to get married, go to the Czech Republic over Christmas, stand by a door, throw a shoe over your shoulder and watch how it lands — if the toe is pointing towards the door, you’ll get married next year. If not, then not. Easy formula, never fails.
If you didn’t have time to clean the mess in your room before Christmas, then happy messy Christmas to you because it’s too late to clean! In Norway, it’s forbidden to clean on Christmas Eve because apparently, that’s the time when witches and other evil spirits like to steal brooms.