The Most Fascinating Christmas Traditions

The Most Fascinating Christmas Traditions  The Most Fascinating Christmas Traditions

The Most Fascinating Christmas Traditions

Written By: Jaymi Naciri
Monday, December 27, 2021

Think your family tradition of dressing up in feetie pajamas and sipping hot chocolate while you drive through the neighborhood looking at holiday lights on Christmas Eve is unique?

There is a great big world full of odd and interesting and fantastic and sometimes puzzling, were not gonna lie holiday traditions out there. Weve pulled together a few of the most fascinating in our newest edition of "Did You Know?"

We promise once you see what theyre doing across the country and across the world, you wont be so embarrassed to admit that Christmas morning is all about three generations of naked gift opening. On second thought, you might want to keep that to yourself.

1. In Norway, there is a sweep on brooms following dinner on Christmas Eve as they are all hidden away out of sight. "Norwegian legend has it that when Christmas Eve comes, it brings with it all manner of evil spirits and witches. As such, its customary for households in Norway to hide all their brooms before bedtime lest any hags get their gnarled hands on them," said MSN.

Sounds like a good excuse to take a break from cleaning No word on how Norwegians feel about vacuums.

2. Guatemala also has a holiday tradition >

This symbolic cleansing ritual is said to expunge evil spirits and negative energy from the upcoming festivities... but it is perhaps more commonly accepted by Americans as "the great breakup ritual."

3. Did you know that Old St. Nick has a counterpart with a devil-like appearance and seriously unappealing name? Krampus like we said, unappealing sets out to punish bad children before Christmas, according to this Austrian and Hungarian holiday legend. "In other words, hes no jolly fat man," said Travel and Leisure. "Instead, picture a red devil with cloven hooves, horns, and a long tongue though he can take the form of a bearded wild man or huge hairy beast." Hmmm. Wed say its a tossup on which one is worse. Especially since Krampus supposedly "carries chains and a basket for abducting especially bad children and hauling them to hell." Good times await in celebration of this delightful tradition at Krampusnacht parties and Krampus Runs, "during which rowdy revelers cavort through town in beastly costumes."

4. Spending the holidays in Hawaii? Expect to see Santa "in a bright red outrigger canoe, escorted by elves in aloha shirts," said Forbes. Yes, even Santa gets into the Aloha spirit. And can you blame him? Its all part of the "Honolulu City Lights... a month-long extravaganza featuring a lighted 50-foot Christmas tree and eye-popping light displays throughout the city." Oh, and dont forget the 20-foot-tall barefoot Santa who sits dipping his toes in the fountain" at City Hall.

5. When its time to ring in the New Year, we watch a ball drop from the sky and count it down before planting a kiss on a loved one - or whomever happens to be closest to us. Perrrrrhaps that seems odd to people in other countries. But clearly Ecuador has no leg to stand on.

After all, Ecuadorans celebrate the New Year by dressing "a straw man in old clothes on December 31. The straw man represents the old year. The family members make a will for the straw man that lists all of their faults," said Scholastic. "At midnight, they burn the straw man, in hopes that their faults will disappear with him."

Its not unlike our practice of making New Years resolutions. Except for the whole burning straw man thing.

6. Heading to Christmas Eve church service in Caracas, Venezuela? Bring your holiday spirit and your knee pads. Its tradition to roller skate to church for evening services the day before Christmas - and its a tradition so embraced locally that the streets are blocked off for skaters safety.

7. If youre planning to celebrate Christmas in Sicily and Southern Italy, we hope you like fish. Because their "Feast of the Seven Fishes" tradition means youre going to get a belly full. "Traditionally, Roman Catholics in the region fast on Christmas Eve, so a feast of seven or even more seafood dishes at the end of the day is a true celebration of the areas bounty," said Delish.

Oh, and the seven fish are also fried, thanks to the fact that "many observant Catholics refrain from eating meat or dairy" before special holidays. So dont plan on going to Italy on a diet. Or on a gluten-free eating plan. Unless your goal is to crack up a Sicilian.

8. Dont expect to excuse yourself from the table if youre celebrating Christmas in Poland. Not unless you want to tempt fate, that is. "After supper, family and guests stay at the table until, at a signal from the host, they all rise in unison and leave," said California Mall. "This is the result of an old belief that the first to rise will die before the next Christmas Eve." Cheery

9. And you thought caroling was taxing. Be thankful youre not in Wales for Christmas, where their tradition includes "Mari Lwyd," which "translates as Gray Mare and involves carting a horse - either a life-size figure or someone dressed as a horse - door-to-door, accompanied by a group of colorful singers and dancers," said Travel and Leisure.

Good news though. In addition to traditional Welsh songs, "Mari Lwyd can also include a rhyme contest between the troupe and residents - a satirical back-and-forth not unlike a modern rap contest." Wait - a Welsh rap-off whilst carting a horse door to door? Were so in.

10. Forget that Christmas ham. In Japan, its all about chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken, to be exact. "While its true that Christmas isnt really celebrated in Japan, a December 25th tradition centers on KFC," said Readers Digest. "In fact, the Colonels special recipe is so popular in Japan at Christmas that KFC suggests that customers place their holiday order two months in advance."

Readers Digest says the "chicken craze" dates back to 1974, when "KFC bosses unveiled their first Christmas meal for visiting foreigners who wanted something that resembled a traditional holiday dinner." Frankly, as long as it comes with mashed potatoes, were good.

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