Weird and Wacky Christmas Traditions
It is ninety-six days before Christmas. Every country make their own preparation from gift-giving to Christmas decorations at home, in the cities or even at work. But the most excited ones are our children, anticipating for the coming of the Father of Christmas Day, Santa Claus.
How do you celebrate Christmas? From traditional foods, cultures and traditions, for us in which, we are not familiar with other tradition, it will come to us as weird, humorous or even shocking.
1) Broom Hiding, Norway
In Norway they keep the brooms on Christmas Eve, an old tradition believed by Norwegians in witches and evil spirits, that comes out in the night looking for brooms to ride, that’s why they hid the brooms in a safer place . Norwegian women of modern times still believe in this tradition and folklore, and still hide their mops, brooms and brushes before going to bed. Some fire their guns to “scare” the witches or the evil spirits. (blog.hotelclub.com)
2) Shoe Tossing, Czech Republic
In Czech Republic, the single women tossed their shoe on Christmas Eve, to know if they marry the following year. They turn their back at front door and tossed the shoe over their shoulders. If the shoe landed with heel towards the door, she stay single for the coming year; while the front of the shoe faces the door, it means she will marry this coming year, and move out from her parent’s home.
3) Food Tossing, Slovakia and Ukraine
The most messy tradition, is the food tossing in Slovakia and Ukraine. At the start of Christmas Eve dinner, the head of the family start tossing “Loksa”, a traditional dish made of bread, poppy seed filling and water, and tossed it on the ceiling , the more Loksa stick on the ceiling, “more richer harvest of crops” in the following new year. It is fun and messy tradition, but not fun for the woman of the house, she have to clean up all the mess!
Sviata Vecherya or Holy Supper traditional dish served on Christmas Eve in many Ukrainian homes. They set the table with few wisps of hay, as a symbol of the manger in Betlehem. It is called “Kutia”, sweet grain pudding.
4) Burning the Goat, Sweden
The burning of the goat started in 1966, they build a big Straw goat and erected the giant goat at the Gavle town in Sweden that mark the beginning of the holiday season. But every year, vandals do their best to burn the straw-goat before Christmas Day. People disguising like Santa Claus or elves, to sneak near the goat and have the chance to burn the giant Straw-goat.
5) Rollerskating to Mass in Venezuela
In Caracas, Venezuela a weird and unusual tradition of the Venezuelan go to the early Christmas Mass on a roller skate. The roads and streets are closed to cars to allow the skaters to go to the church to attend the mass. Instead the usual caroling at night, people just beat the drums, and at the strike of midnight, people shout “Jesus is born” and use firecrackers to light up the sky.
6) Christmas in Japan
Primarily, funeral notices in Japan are printed in red, so if you send a red Christmas card in Japan it would be a big insult for the Japanese.
7) Krampus, Austria
Weirdest tradition in Austria, where Saint Nicholas brings carrots with him, while his companion, Krampus, bring stick , the evil-anti Santa or said to be the evil twin of Santa. Krampus is celebrated every 5th of December each year, and the eve of Saint Nicholas day in Austria and other European countries. Krampus roam around the city looking for children he could whip with his stick.
8) Caga TiA, Spain
Caga Tia or Poop Log, is another weird custom and tradition in Spain. You can buy or make your own Caga TiA, hallowed the log and put legs and face, and must “feed” the log everyday starting 8th of December. On Christmas Eve you may put your Caga TiA near the fireplace and “beat” him with stick until he pooped out nuts, candies and fruits. After he finished, he should pooped the final ‘food inside him’, like onions, garlic bulb and salt herring. While doing the beating process the family should sing the traditional song to encourage the pooping log to pooped out all ‘objects’ inside him.
Caganer, Catalonia, Spain
The Caganer in France, Portugal and Spain is a figurine found in Nativity and usually kept in a corner of the nativity, far from Mary and Joseph, and the “caganer” needs privacy for his mooning. Nobody can confirm the original source of this weird traditions and explanation for this custom from their ancestors.
9) Pickle Ornament, Germany
Every Saint Nicholas day, Knect Ruprecht, the servant, dressed in dark clothes, with bright red tongue and stick in his hands, accompanies Saint Nicholas. He punished children that did not behave well this year.
The pickle ornament is the last thing to be hung in the Christmas tree by German families, which was passed from generation to generation. It should be hidden when hung, and the first child that can find it, will receive a special gift in the morning of Christmas Day. The odd thing in this traditions, only few Germans know this old traditions. Weird isn’t it?
10) Zwarte Piet, Netherlands
Zwarte Piet or Black Peter, is the helper of Sinterklaas (Santa Claus of Netherlands). At the eve of Saint Nicholas Day Sinterklaas arrive with his slaves, Zwarte Piet in a ‘steamship float’, in a procession around the cities and nearby towns. The Black Peter, take the kids who did not behave well this year, and bring them to Spain, where Sinterklaas lives. The Black Peter call themselves as “Chimney Sweep” not ‘slaves’.
In every country Santa Claus has different names, but for sure he is still Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas that brings gifts to children around the world.
11) Befane Witch, Italy
In Italy, the parents are worried on the pagan practice of believing Santa Claus and that he delivers presents for the Italian children. The Vatican, cannot find proof that Santa Claus is existing, and just believe that a very kind old witch, named La Befana, delivers presents to the children and that the three Wise Men asked La Befana to pay a visit to Baby Jesus in Betlehem, but the old witch declined.
The Feast of the Seven Fish, a tradition in Italy that they prepare during Christmas Eve, like Tuna, anchovies, sardines, dried cod, smelts, squid, octopus, shrimps and eels.
12) Christmas Tradition in the Philippines
Pohutukawa Tree, is the symbol of Christmas Tree in New Zealand, that bares flowers every Christmas season.
13) Olentzero in Basque County
The Olentzero, is a Christmas tradition in Basque County in Bilbao, comes out in the midnight of December 24 midnight, to deliver presents to the children.
14) Toronto Santa Claus Parade
The traditional Toronto Santa Claus Parade, held every December before Christmas celebration, are participated by chai of popular department’s stores, that started in December 2, 1905 in Eaton, now Sears, Canada.
15) Christmas Tradition in the Philippines
Simbang Gabi or Midnight Mass in the Philippines starts at December 16, of 4 a.m. until December 24th midnight. It was believed that when you complete the 9 days Novena, your wish will be granted. After the dawn mass, you will enjoy eating sticky rice cakes, puto bumbong, bibingkang kanin, tamales at suman.
Traditional Midnight supper or Noche Buena in the Philippines, were every Filipino family gather together on the midnight of December 24. In the morning of Christmas day, the children would go house to house in the neighborhood for some candies and few coins as a gift. And after that they visit friends, relatives and godparents to receive more presents in kind or in money.
16) Christmas in Singapore
In Singapore, they Christians celebrate Christmas Day by going to mass, visit friends and relatives and prepare food and meet Christmas eve with colorful firecrackers. Though in Singapore there are Hindus, Buddhist and Muslim community but still Christmas is celebrated the normal way.
“Bada Din”, means Merry Christmas in Hindi
” Christmas Ke Shubhashai,” means Merry Christmas in Hindi. They used two colored palms and jute ropes as ornaments for Christmas. Dolls represent every region in India, dyed-orange bows and the Christmas trees are covered with green silk cloth with colored stones and paint of gold.
In China, Christians celebrate Christmas day, though it is known that China is more on Buddhism.”Sheng Dan Jieh” means ‘Holy Birth Festivals” . Santa Claus in Chinese version is ‘ Dun Che Lau Ren’.
17)Tablisi Children in Georgia
The traditional Christmas Day in Georgia is celebrated on January 7 (December 25 on the Julian Calendar). The Tbilisi children wore Georgians costume made of special clothings and have their mass procession on the street to an Alilo (Alleluia).
18) Poland Christmas Traditions
Wigillia meal are composed of Kutia, herring fish, compote, borscht, salt and varenyky.
19)Hannukah Menorah, Jewish
The Silver nine branched candelabrum Hannukah menorah, are lighted on the 8thd day of Holiday in Hebrew. The Israel, the main Jewish state do not celebrate Christmas and instead celebrate the feast of Hannukah Menorah that falls on Christmas Day.
20) Christmas In Beirut, Lebanon
Lebanon is a non-Christian country, but many Christians here in Lebanon celebrate Christmas. In the picture a Mosque can be seen at the background.
Buche de Noel, a traditional log cake prepared on Christmas eve by Christians in Lebanon, France, Belgium, Italy, Quebec, UK and several Christian countries.
Whatever traditions we believed in, still Christmas brings joy to every family in the world.