Christmas is around the corner and we are all looking forward to hanging our socks at night hoping anxiously that we don’t find a lump of coal inside them, in the morning. Yeah, very true! We usually associate Christmas with baking cakes,making cookies and yummy puddings, decorating the Christmas tree and leaving out milk and cookies for Father Christmas.
But there are countries and places across the globe which have traditions and practices which many of us may never have seen or heard of, but some of them are fun and quite interesting too. We have assembled a list of such places and their traditions for you.
1)UKRAINE (Spider Webs)
It is believed that seeing spider webs in the morning brings luck which is why people here decorate their homes with them. According to an Eastern European folklore a poor hardworking widow lived in her hut with her children.On the eve of Christmas they wished to decorate the the Christmas tree but could not afford to to do so and fell asleep. Early next morning when they woke up they saw the tree covered with cobwebs and when the morning sunshine fell on them they turned into gold and and silver. From then on, they never lived in poverty again.
2)NORWAY (Witches)There is a very old tradition of hiding brooms in Norway which is followed even today. Norwegian people believe that witches and evil spirits at night on Christmas eve come out looking for brooms to ride on. Today, Norwegian women still hide their brooms, mops and brushes before going to sleep, while the men sometimes sneak out of the house and fire a shotgun to scare off the witches.
3)CATALONIA , Spain(Caga Tio/Shit Log)
People in Catalonia take a log and give it a face and then start feeding it with cookies, candies, gifts till Christmas and then on the eve of Christmas they beat the log until it poops out all the goodies. Very strange, right?
La Befana has been an Italian tradition since the XIII century and comes from Christian legend rather than popular culture. On Christmas Eve, the old, tattered and soot-covered Befana(witch) flies around the world on a broomstick and comes down chimneys to deliver candy and presents to children who have been good during the year. For those who have fallen a bit short of model behavior, la Befana will leave lumps of coal.
In the Venezuelan capital Caracas, it is customary for the entire city to roller-skate to early morning Christmas Mass.
6)SWEDEN (goat tradition)
Every year since 1966, a giant straw goat of Gavle faces vandals and arsonists trying to burn it down. It’s a classic Christmas tale of good triumphing over evil.
7)AUSTRIA, Krampus ( St. Nicholas’s helper)
Krampus is a horned figure who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with St. Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.
8)JAPAN (Christmas cakes)
In Japan, Christmas in known as more of a time to spread happiness rather than a religious celebration. Christmas cakes are ordered months in advanced and are eaten on the Christmas eve. Any cake that is not sold after the 25th is unwanted. For the same reason, single Japanese women over the age of 25 are called Christmas cakes!!!
9)CZECH REPUBLIC, Slovakia( Shoe throwing)
On the Christmas day if you stand with your back towards the door and throw your shoe towards the door and if the shoe lands with the toe pointing to the door then congratulations !!! You will find your prince charming before next Christmas.
10)BRITAIN( Christmas Pudding)
Traditionally, every member of the household stirs the pudding while making a wish. When it’s time to serve the pudding, tradition calls for bathing it in brandy and setting it on fire. There is also a practice of including a coin in the pudding and whoever found it in his serve is allowed to keep it as a harbinger of wealth in the coming year.
So, if you are planning to travel to one of these places this time around Christmas you are sure to experience some of these customs there. Merry Christmas!!!
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