Did you know that in Iceland there are 13 Christmas gnomes and in Spain there is a candy shitter? Crazy Christmas traditions from around the world.
While in Germany, traditionally, Santa Claus comes on the 24th.12. snowing through the door and bringing presents to the children, there are some really curious Christmas traditions in some European countries around the world. To get in the mood for this time of year already, we’ve rounded up some weird and funny customs.
1. Iceland: The 13 Christmas Gnomes
We have the Christ Child, in Iceland not one person brings the presents, but 13 at once! The 13 Christmas gnomes from the mountains. These are gnomes that resemble a Santa Claus. They show up one by one before Christmas. The first Christmas gnome arrives on 12. December and then one more every day until all 13 dwarfs are together again on Christmas Eve. Then the Icelanders eat together the traditional Jolaar, the Christmas sheep, then goes every day again a dwarf until Epiphany on 6. January.
2. Poland: Surprise guest
How nice, the Poles always traditionally set an extra place setting on Christmas Eve – in case a surprise or unexpected guest comes to Christmas dinner.
3. + 4. Spain: The candy shitter and the Christmas lottery
To each his own. Among the Spaniards in Catalonia there is a rather peculiar custom – namely the Tio de Nadal, a gift "shitting" tree trunk. Sounds weird, it is. During the Christmas season, children decorate a tree trunk with legs, a hat and a face painted on it, which lies under a blanket so it doesn’t get cold. Then on Christmas itself, the kids sing a special song and knock on the log with sticks. I wonder if they do it to stimulate digestion? When the children then pull the blanket away, they find sweets and small gifts that the Tio de Nadal has eliminated. Yummy, yummy! By the way, one of the most important nativity figures in Catalonia is "el Caganer", the "shithead". It’s really called that, it does its business a bit away from the baby Jesus with its pants down.
And yet another Christmas custom of the wild Spaniards: Some of you may already know that in Espana Christmas is heralded by the world’s largest lottery. On 22. December, the draw is broadcast on television and almost all Spaniards sit in front of the boob tube. Curious detail: The winning numbers are sung by orphans on TV.
5. Sweden: The big Disney fans
The Swedes are a funny people, while we watch movies like "The Little Lord", "Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella" or "Kevin – home alone" at Christmas, in Sweden young and old sit in front of the TV and watch Donald Duck. Christmas in Duckburg!
6. Hungary: The witches chair
Apparently they still exist in Hungary: witches. To escape them, the Hungarians build from 13. December a very special chair. Why all this? The Luca chair is made of seven different types of wood and is supposed to protect against witches. Exactly on Christmas Eve he must be ready and is then taken to Christmas mass. There the Hungarians stand on the chair and keep a lookout for witches. If you see one, you grab the chair and run home with it. A special trick so that the witches don’t catch you: You throw poppy seeds on the ground, which the witches all have to pick up nicely before they can resume their pursuit. Arrived at home, one burns then fast the chair and is so for the next year before the witches safe.
7. Russia: Telephone date
It’s funny at Christmas with the Russian women, whether the men feel the same is the question. Christmas is celebrated here only from 7. January and then the single ladies go to the men’s show. Because from 6. For twelve days on January 1, they search for their future husbands – also by typing random numbers into the telephone. The man who answers the phone is supposed to be the future husband. I wonder if many men deliberately put the phone down next to the fork at this time?
So, who wants to travel to Christmas and one of these listed countries is the destination, can mentally already prepare for these customs. Well then: Merry Christmas.