About 30% of the World’s population is Christian. However this doesn’t stop the rest of the World from celebrating Christmas, or ‘X-mas’, even celebrated by other religions in almost every corner of the globe. So here are some of the strangest variations of Christmas.
In the early 70’s Japan went through a poultry crisis. One of the only places to have Turkey at Christmas was the KFC. Since then it has become somewhat of a Japanese Christmas tradition to eat there, so much so that the KFC now recommends placing orders in advance.
In Catalonia, the Christmas Log has an entirely different meaning.
The ‘Caga Tio’ or ‘P**ing Log’ is placed on the table prior to Christmas and is ‘fed’ fruit and sweeties. On Christmas Eve the family then beats the log with sticks whilst singing traditional songs, in order for it to defecate the candy. Catalonian’s have even included defecation in their nativity scenes.
Christmas in Australia is in the summer time, so you won’t find stockings by the fire. But it’s not all sunshine. If you go to sit on Santa’s knee, you might also encounter his Evil Counterpart “Krampus”! A demon-like creature that punishes bad children!
A popular tradition in Norway is Julebukk, a decorative straw goat. Apparently the custom has origins in the worship of Thor who rode a chariot pulled by two goats.
It is also customary on Christmas Eve to hide all the brooms. This date coincides with the fabled arrival of evil spirits and witches.
In some rural areas of Wales, each year a villager is chosen to perform the Mari Lwyd ritual. This involves parading the streets with a mare’s skull on a pole, whilst the other villagers sing traditional spooky songs.
Some people hate brussel sprouts at Christmas. They don’t have brussels in Greenland however. They have Mattak. Raw whale skin with mouthfuls of blubber still attached.
Another festive delicacy is Kiviak a dead sea-bird wrapped in seal’s skin and buried for a few months.
During the traditional Christmas feast, or “Consoada” it is Portuguese tradition in some regions to also set a place at the festive table, for the deceased family members. Perhaps a reminder of the ghosts of Christmas past.
You’re probably familiar with santa claus filling your stockings full of presents if you’ve been a good boy. Sure. However in Germany it’s shoes that Santa fills, not with presents, but with a branch with sweets attached. If you’ve been naughty however, he might just leave you a bare branch.
In Oaxaca every year thousands of locals flock to the main plaza to contemplate the yule-time nativity scenes. Nothing different there, however everything is made entirely out of radishes…. so…
Are you sick of seeing a jolly fat man dressed in red every winter? Then head over to Italy where instead of Santa they have La Befana, a kindly witch who hands out presents at Christmas.
Which of these countries’ traditions surprised you the most?