How is Christmas Celebrated Around the World?- You Will Be Suprised!
Have you ever wondered how people celebrate Christmas in Sweden, Venezuela, Australia, Austria, Norway, Guatemala, Calatonia in Spain or Japan? Read on, some traditions will surprise you…
In Sweden, the Yule goat (” JullBock “), or Christmas goat, is in the spotlight. A Nordic tradition that goes back well beyond the birth of Jesus for Christians, and which evolved over time. The peasants disguised as goats to frighten children became in the 19th century those who distributed gifts to them. On the evening of December 24, at Gävle Castle, Christmas is celebrated by setting fire to a giant straw goat.
In Austria, it is not Santa Claus, but his companion Krampus, half-goat, half-demon that is celebrated. Children who have been kind throughout the year are rewarded with candies, apples and nuts. But ugly little boys and ugly little girls must be worried about what Krampus might bring them on the morning of the 25th, even if it means leaving with him in his wicker basket …
In Italy, Santa’s little helper is an old witch
Unable to conclusively prove the existence of Santa, the Vatican decided to throw its weight behind something they’d had countless dealings with an old witch called La Befana who delivers presents to kids in Italy. The story goes that the three wise men invited the witch to accompany them to see the baby, Jesus. She said she was too busy and the legend was born.
Santa’s little helper is an old witch in ItalyGuatemala: How clean is your house?
In Guatemala, cleanliness really is next to Godliness. Locals believe that the devil and other evil spirits live in the dark, dirty corners of your home.
Therefore, they spend the week before Christmas sweeping up, collecting rubbish and then piling everything in a huge heap outside. Finally, an effigy of the devil is placed on top and the whole thing is set on fire. It’s called La Quema del Diablo, the ‘Burning of the Devil’. The idea for Guatemalans is to burn all the bad from the previous year and start a new year from out of the ashes.
Norway: Hide your broom!
Norwegians believe that Christmas Eve coincides with the arrival of evil spirits and witches. It is only logical then, that Norwegian householders hide all their brooms before they go to sleep. After all, nothing spoils Christmas quicker than finding your broom in broken pieces at the foot of a tree, trashed by some joy-riding witch.
Czech Republic: A pair of matchmakers
On Christmas Eve, unmarried Czech women stand with their back to the door and toss one of their shoes over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door, it means that they’ll be married within the year.
If it lands with the heel facing the door, they’re in for another year of watching Bridget Jones movies. Perhaps it’s better than marrying a heel, though.
Japan had only about 1% of Christians, despite this, a very special tradition has developed fairly recently. Unable to find a turkey for Christmas in the Japanese country, expatriates began to meet in an American store offering fried chicken. In 1974, an advertising campaign made this practice part of the tradition. On December 25th, it is normal to go to KFC as a family.
In Australia, Christmas Day is usually spent at the beach. The early summer in the southern hemisphere sees the traditional turkey being traded for a barbecue with friends. Aussies share a few beers there before a game of cricket. Santa Claus is there, but he’s more often seated on a cooler than on a sleigh …
Spain: New Year, new (red) knickers
Here’s one for the New Year. In Spain, it is customary to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve. The small town of La Font de la Figuera has taken the tradition one step further: a New Year’s Eve run with the runners wearing just red underwear. Coincidentally, the town has the highest incidence of pneumonia in the country.
In the very Catholic country of Venezuela, during the Christmas period, worshippers go to religious services on, wait for it….. rollerblades! In the capital, Caracas, it is common to go to mass early in the morning on roller skates. The roads are even cleared for this purpose creating a whole different atmosphere!
Finally- in Catalonia: Pooping their way through Christmas!
Welcome to the bizarre Catalan tradition of caga tió or ‘defecating log’.
Locals in Catalonia create a character out of a log, drawing a face on it and giving it a hat. Then they spend a fortnight ‘feeding’ it fruit, nuts and sweets. On Christmas Eve, the entire family beats the log with sticks and sings a traditional song that translates to ‘if you don’t crap well, i’ll beat you with a stick’ until the log excretes all its treats. It’s hard to comprehend why this tradition hasn’t caught on elsewhere..
If that’s not funny enough- they also decorate their nativity scenes with small, pooping, ceramic caganers (figurines). Usually, well-known characters, often drawn from that year’s news, the figurines always have their pants around their ankles.
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