The Strangest Christmas Traditions From Around The World
Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall? Are you waiting for the family to arrive? Have you ordered your Christmas KFC bucket? Wait, what?!
We’ve put together a list of the weirdest Christmas traditions that we’ve heard of. From hiding your brooms from the witches, to killer Christmas cats looking for clothes, find out how other countries celebrate the 25th.
Barcelona. The city of Gaudi, culture, and jamon. Oh, and pooping logs at Christmas.
Every year, the Caga Tió (Pooping Log in English) comes out in December to the delight of all the Catalan children. This strange Christmas tradition is a log that comes in all shapes and sizes, with a friendly smile upon its face. The Caga Tió sits in the house throughout December being fed the peels of mandarins, as it keeps itself warm with a blanket.
When Christmas Eve comes, the family pull the blanket over the log and beat it with a stick, so that it poops presents for Christmas Day! On Christmas morning, children rush to see what the Caga Tió has pooed. Normally it poos sweets, nuts, and nougat. Yum!
Beware of the Krampus
The Krampus, what is that? A long lost cousin of the Grinch?
Half goat, half demon, the Krampus is someone you don’t want to mess with. It lurks in Austria and beats naughty children, then it takes them back to its lair. You better watch out, you better not cry… Watch out for the Krampus if you’re in Bad Gastein this year!
As we tuck into our turkey dinners this Christmas, the Japanese tuck into something completely different.
With a Christian population of around 1%, Christmas isn’t really celebrated in Japan, but since the 70s, getting a Christmas KFC has become a huge tradition. The tradition is so huge, that people even order their buckets weeks before, and often queue for hours!
Befana the Italian witch
You might have heard of Sabrina the teenage witch, but have you heard of Befana the friendly witch?
In Italy, Befana visits homes all over the country on the night before Epiphany (January 5th) and fills children’s shoes and stockings with candies if they’ve been good, or with coal if they’ve been naughty. She comes from the mountains in the middle of the night on her broom, and sometimes leaves garlic if you’ve been really bad!
Icelandic killer cats
In Iceland, the Yule Cat lurks in the countryside during the festive season. This isn’t a pussycat that you want to play with though…
The Yule Cat checks up on everyone, not to see if they’ve been naughty, but to make sure that they have new clothes! If he finds out that you haven’t bought a new item of clothing, he will eat you! You better get shopping if you’re in Iceland right now…
This one isn’t so much of a weird Christmas tradition, but a strange series of arson attacks.
The Gävle Goat in central Sweden, has received a lot of global interest recently, due to the fact that it keeps getting burnt down. This year it was unfortunately burnt down once again, but there is now a smaller replacement version of it, which you can keep an eye on on a webcam feed.
The world’s largest straw goat has been a local celebrity for 50 years now, and for 37 years out of 50, has been damaged. We really hope that next year he survives!
Skating to church
Many people take a mid-morning walk to church on Christmas Day to sing their carols, but not in Venezuela!
In the Caracas, the capital, early morning worshippers make the most of the clear roads and rollerskate their way to church. The Christmas celebrations start on 16th December, so there’s plenty of time to refresh your roller skating skills beforehand
In Norway, Christmas is often seen as a time when the wicked spirits of the world come out to play. So what do they do? Hide their brooms of course!
By hiding the brooms on Christmas Eve, the witches cannot steal them! We all need a broom on Christmas Day so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Don’t eat the cookies!
One of the scariest, strangest, Christmas traditions that we’ve heard comes from South Africa. It’s up there with the Krampus…
The tradition is that parents tell the story of a little boy named Danny, who one Christmas, got a bit greedy and ate all of his grandmother’s cookies. Instead of giving him a telling off, his gran decided to kill him. EEK! His story is told every Christmas to warn children not to be greedy over the festive period, and it is said that Danny’s ghost haunts houses throughout December…
Have a great Christmas from all of us at European Bartender School! Try not to think about the Krampus too much, we’re sure that you’ve been good this year, right?