7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World

Posted on December 25, 2009 by

It’s that time of the year again. Sleigh bells, Christmas carols and Santa Claus – there’re always part of our Christmas celebrations. But did you know that in different corners of the world, Christmas is celebrated differently?  While I’m in Dresden, East Germany, celebrating Christmas with a good friend and playing with snow, I’m digging up some quirky and slightly amusing Christmas traditions to share with you. Merry X’mas!

Photo by Crazy-frankenstein.com

puddingGreat Britain, UK

Pudding is very important in the Christmas traditions of Great Britain. During the process of making the pudding, the British has a traditional practice of making a wish while mixing the the ingredients in a clockwise direction – only this way will your wishes come true.

Italy

The Vatican, unable to prove the existence of modern-day Santa Claus decided to tell kids that a kindly old witch, La Befana, delivers presents to them. So instead of waiting enthusiastically for Santa to arrive in his reindeer sleigh, the children dreams of a witch bringing them Christmas gifts. 

Ukraine

imageAn artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees. A spider web found on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck. A Ukrainian folk tale says that there once lived a woman so poor that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children’s tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold.

Japan

Sending red Christmas cards to anyone in Japan constitutes bad etiquette, since funeral notices are customarily printed in red.  Christmas cards tend to be white usually, a color that represents snow and clarity.

Caracas, Venezuela

The capital city of Venezuela has an interesting modern-day tradition.  The streets in Caracas are closed off every Christmas eve to allow churchgoers to get there by roller-skates.  A big city with bustling traffic, this way you’re sure to get to the church on time for Christmas mass!

imageCatalonia, Spain

A typical Christmas tradition in Spain involves putting up a ‘belen’, part of the nativity scene – the day when baby Jesus was born and the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem. Except, among the figurines, you’ll find a character called ‘El Caganer’ (translated to the great defecator). In Catalonia, this figure is particularly popular. He’s literally defecating– the “fertilizer” means the year will yield a good harvest. 

 

Norway

In Norway, on Christmas Eve, all the brooms in the house are hidden as  the Norwegians have an ancient belief that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for to ride the skies.

Latvia

The best-known Latvian Christmas tradition is an odd custom called mumming. "Mummers" wear an assortment of masks, the most traditional ones include faces of bears, horses, goats, gypsies, and, amusingly, living corpses. Get out onto the streets, it’s a delightful sight!

image 

Resources: TopTenz, Cracked.com and Strange Cosmos.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Related Posts:

Comments

comments

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

25 Responses to “7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World”

  1. Lori December 26, 2009 10:42 am #

    yes, Christmas brings interesting traditions all over the world. Many objects/things have special significations – and of course everyone wants to have good luck and health so… many respect this traditions (understood by others as superstitions). Interesting selection you've realized – bravo!

  2. mack December 28, 2009 10:32 am #

    Thanks for sharing this post. New Year has come so close to everyone. New Year event encloses every person’s heart with great amount of happiness, joyness. Every corner of the world celebrate mesmerizing event like Sparkling fireworks, good greetings, non-stop partying, electrifying music etc. Here are top ten spots of the world such as New York City, Sydney, London, Paris, Ko Phanagn Thailand, Kiribati, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Boston. How they celebrate new year to see refer http://www.travelworth.com/ring-new-year-in-best-

  3. ugg December 29, 2009 7:55 am #

    The New Year is coming a few days!
    what do you prepared the gifts for your friends?
    UGG Classic Cardy -The best New Year Persents for Lover & Family. New Year Day is coming,it's great time to shop Genuine ugg boots as New Year gifts to keep your lover & family warmandcozy.And they will love them very much. Love UGG Classic Cardy, Love UGGs.
    Welcome to visit the http://www.uggmall.net, you may will have unexpected surprises!

  4. Chris December 29, 2009 6:22 pm #

    We are backpacking in Australia at the moment, as we are italians, we are just concerned that Befana (the old witch), will not arrive here, it is to far from our hometown:-).

  5. Dave and Deb December 31, 2009 8:33 am #

    Excellent post. I never knew about the witch in Italy. Who knew. In India Christmas went by almost completely unnoticed. Dave and I have always had a tradition of going to a movie on Christmas day since so many blockbusters open in North America then. We stayed true to form and went to see Avatar in Mumbai. It felt just like home!

  6. Travel Blogs January 6, 2010 9:16 pm #

    Happy Befana today!!!

  7. hiSunglasses March 3, 2010 2:09 pm #

    This is amazing, the Christmas traditions you listed are really weird. I haven't heard about this before.

  8. Christine December 15, 2010 6:39 pm #

    Lol 'El Caganer.’ I first learned about this little guy last year living with a host family in Spain. Interesting post!

  9. Kristen December 24, 2011 3:36 am #

    And THIS is why traveling is so fascinating. Everything is the same but SO different. Love it!

  10. Katherine McKenney December 24, 2011 5:15 am #

    Wow! That's so interesting! I learned so many things. A few comments about Italy. In Italy on Christmas it's baby Jesus who brings presents to children (who deserve it of course!) La Befana brings gifts on 6th January which corresponds to the Epiphany in Christianity. She brings small gifts like chocolates to children in the same way that the 3 wisemen brought little gifts to baby Jesus. Santa Clause (Babbo Natale) exists as a symbol, you see lots of nice Panettone cakes shaped in his form at Christmas but he doesn't bring any gifts.

  11. LasVegasFan August 19, 2013 10:27 am #

    Weird and funny :) And I thought my country had a weird traditions

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy New Year from Munich! | Wild Junket - January 4, 2010

    [...] 7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World [...]

  2. Salzburg: Following the Sound of Music | Wild Junket - February 23, 2010

    [...] 7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World [...]

  3. A White German Christmas in Dresden | Wild Junket - February 23, 2010

    [...] 7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World [...]

  4. Cool Christmas Gifts for Every Traveler | Wild Junket - December 16, 2010

    [...] the Christmas season once again; which also means malls are packed to the brim and cashier lines are longer than ever. [...]

  5. 5 Classic Christmas Destinations | Wild Junket - December 19, 2010

    [...] will you be spending Christmas this year? As a modern-day nomad, I’ve spent the past few Christmases in various corners of the [...]

  6. 6 Quirky Ways to Spend Christmas | Wild Junket - December 21, 2010

    [...] mass on rollerblades. They might sound a little over-the-top but believe it or not, these are weird Christmas traditions from around the world. So if goofing around on Christmas is your style, check out these alternative ways to spend [...]

  7. 5 Wacky Ways to Celebrate New Years’ Eve! | Wild Junket - December 27, 2010

    [...] 7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World [...]

  8. 12 Strange Christmas Customs You Probably Don’t Know - December 21, 2012

    [...] of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with an artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why the eccentric taste in spiders? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who [...]

  9. 12 Strange Christmas Customs You Probably Don’t Know | DigitalMofo - December 21, 2012

    [...] of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with an artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why the eccentric taste in spiders? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who [...]

  10. 12 Strange Christmas Customs You Probably Don’t Know | Android News - December 21, 2012

    [...] of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with an artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why the eccentric taste in spiders? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who [...]

  11. 12 Strange Christmas Customs You Probably Don’t Know | tecBird - December 23, 2012

    [...] of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with an artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why the eccentric taste in spiders? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who [...]

  12. 12 Strange Christmas Customs You Probably Don’t Know - 360tech.in - December 27, 2012

    [...] of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with an artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why the eccentric taste in spiders? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who [...]

  13. 5 Most Interesting Christmas Traditions Around The World | Oh Snap! Let's Eat! - March 19, 2013

    [...] 7 Weird Christmas Traditions Around the World  (wildjunket.com) [...]

  14. 17 Bizarre Christmas Celebrations From Around The World | sooziQ - December 10, 2013

    [...] wildjunket.com [...]

Leave a Reply