Curious christmas customs from around the world


Santa Claus Christmas customs Santa Claus Christmas Advent_0

There even Santa Claus looks incredulous. © Alexander Roth 2/2


Symbolic image.

Everyone celebrates Christmas differently. Some people sing off-key after a cup of mulled wine, while others have their children make their flutes squeak. Some like potato salad with sausages, elsewhere one prefers then nevertheless an official holiday roast. Whether Christmas tree, gifts or decorations – the customs already differ from family to family. Worldwide, what is organized around Christmas, of course, goes even further apart. Much, much further. We have collected the strangest traditions for you.

Japan: Christmas menu from KFC

Japan is known for weird customs – of course, Christmas is not spared from this. While the holiday has long been treated as a minor matter in the Far East, a tradition has developed in recent years, largely as a result of clever marketing: the American fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken, known for deep-fried chicken thighs in giant buckets, puts together a Christmas menu for the Japanese every year.

The foundation for this was laid back in the 1970s: Takeshi Okawara, who opened the very first KFC store in Japan, reportedly dreamed of a holiday bucket one night. In 1974, the idea was then advertised nationwide – a resounding success. According to the BBC, about 3.6 million Japanese will be eating KFC for Christmas.

USA: Who’s afraid of Santa Claus??

Whether it’s the Feast of Love or not, a little schadenfreude is in order: The Chicago Tribune has created a tradition in the U.S. that is as mean as it is funny. Every year, the "Scared of Sanata" photo contest looked for the best pictures of children who felt a little uncomfortable, to say the least, in the presence of Santa Claus. It was so well received that a number of media companies have now copied the idea. The children will surely thank their parents in a few years time.

Norway: Hiding brooms

Not even the most Swabian of all Swabians would think of taking a broom in their hands at Christmas. In Norway, however, it is a tradition. Scandinavians do not use it for sweeping, but hide it in the safest place in the house. Why? Well, centuries ago in the deep north, witches and evil spirits were believed to roam the houses on Christmas Eve in search of a broom to ride on into the night sky. Which would be dangerous, of course – after all, as we all know, Santa Claus is already up there.

Spain: Tree trunk excretes sweets

In the Spanish region of Catalonia, which is currently very present in the media, there is a custom that takes some getting used to: in the run-up to Christmas, the children paint a face on a tree trunk, put a cap on it and place it under a cuddly warm blanket. At Christmas itself, the so-called "Tio de Nadal" is served then a special song is sung while the children tap it with sticks. Sense of the thing: By the procedure the digestion of the tree trunk is properly boosted. When the children then lift the blanket, the Tio de Nadal has done its business, excreting many small treats and gifts. Uh, yes.

Venezuela: Christmas on roller skates

Going to church was yesterday: The inhabitants of Caracas in Venezuela prefer to roll up to mass on Christmas Eve. And because more and more people are strapping on roller skates for the feast of love, the streets are closed off especially for this day. The only drawback is that they won’t be able to listen to "Driving Home for Christmas" on the car radio on the way home. But after all, what is a smartphone for.

USA: Pickles on the tree

Is this a tradition or just a misunderstanding?? In our country, no one would think of hanging a pickle on the Christmas tree. In the USA, on the other hand, glass "Christmas Pickles" are not uncommon. The clou: There the idea prevails that this unusual custom originates from Germany.

How exactly the tradition actually came about cannot be conclusively explained. However, the most common legend is that a Bavarian soldier named Hans Lauer fought in the American Civil War. Lauer was imprisoned and asked his guard for a pickle because he was starving. The guard granted him his wish, and the Bavarian soldier was restored to health. In memory of this generous act, glass vegetables are still dangling from American Christmas trees today.

Mexico: Christmas decoration from radish

What else should come after pickles at Christmas?? Well, how about radishes? On 23. In December, the inhabitants of the Mexican city of Oaxaca celebrate the "Noche de Rabanos" (Night of the Radish). In the evening, they meet in public places to carve the vegetables into small figures of saints and other forms of Christmas decoration. Whoever does it best can win juicy prizes.

Of course, there is also a legend about this custom: In the middle of the 18. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the radish in Oxaca allegedly sprouted in such large numbers that the farmers decided to let the harvest rest. Then, in December, two friars stumbled upon some particularly funny shaped specimens of the vegetable, and took them to a Christmas market for fun. There they were advertised as a special curiosity, and someone got the idea to tamper with them with a knife. A few years later, the mayor called for the first radish carving competition. The rest, as they say, is history.

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