Christmas Traditions around the World

So it begins, the race towards Christmas. And it really has become a race. Basically a race to acquire more STUFF! Black Friday is coming…not sure where it came from, but apparently we now participate. When did it become about STUFF? I recall it being more about gatherings, food, music and just plain fun. Let’s have a look at how other cultures around the world celebrate the festive season, some are a little strange…I like strange!

Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built in the centre of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – the most recent destruction was in 2016.

If you want to see how the Goat fares this year when it goes up on December 1st, you can follow its progress on the Visit Gävle website through a live video stream.

A beast-like demon creature that roams city streets frightening kids and punishing the bad ones – nope, this isn’t Halloween, but St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, Krampus. In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, young men dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day) frightening children with clattering chains and bells.

Christmas has never been a big deal in Japan. Aside from a few small, secular traditions such as gift-giving and light displays, Christmas remains largely a novelty in the country. However, a new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years – a Christmas Day feast of the Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The festive menu will soon be advertised on the KFC Japan website and, even if you don’t understand Japanese, the pictures sure will look delicious with everything from a Christmas-themed standard bucket to a premium roast-bird feast.

Love Christmas, but think it could be improved by a spot of roller-blading? If the answer is yes, visit Caracas, Venezuela this year. Every Christmas Eve, the city’s residents head to church in the early morning – so far, so normal – but, for reasons known only to them, they do so on roller skates. This unique tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety, before heading home for the less-than-traditional Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’ (a wrap made out of cornmeal dough and stuffed with meat, then steamed).

Perhaps one of the most unorthodox Christmas Eve traditions can be found in Norway, where people hide their brooms. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries to when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day, many people still hide their brooms in the safest place in the house to stop them from being stolen.

How about Cuba for Christmas? That’s were I’ll be, and you can still join me! Check out Scratch Tours for more info. This will be my second Christmas in Cuba, the first pre pandemic 2018. The best Christmas I’ve had since childhood by far. Being a communist country Christmas was actually banned until 1997, so much of the commercialism of North America does not exsist. BEAUTIFUL! Read more here. Have a great day, 32 more sleeps till Christmas kids!



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