Christmas is one of the most popular festivals in the world. As we come to the end of the year, it is time to turn our attention to Christmas celebrations. Christmas is celebrated with gaiety across the world with each country having its own Christmas traditions. These traditions have evolved over centuries and have become part of local culture and customs.
We look at some of the most interesting Christmas traditions from around the world. This overview tells you the different ways in which Christmas is celebrated across the world.
Amazing Christmas traditions worldwide
1. Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding is a favorite tradition in many countries. People make pudding and relish it with Christmas lunch or dinner. A very interesting tradition happens in Ukraine and Slovakia. The head of the household or the eldest member takes a spoonful of pudding and throws it at the roof. If the pudding sticks, then it is a sign of good luck.
2. Fried Chicken
While everyone in the world cooks a meal for Christmas, the Japanese go to KFC to eat fried chicken. This is a unique tradition you will find only in Japan. The tradition started as a marketing campaign by KFC and became very popular. Since then, people throng to KFC outlets to eat fried chicken. KFC offers special Christmas buckets to help people celebrate the festival.
While Christmas everywhere features jovial characters like Santa Claus, things are different in Iceland. Here there is a Christmas tradition of monsters. Jolakotturinn is a Christmas cat. It is not just a cat but a monster that eats children! This is a scary tradition that is followed. The concept is – bad children who don’t do their work don’t get new clothes. They are then eaten up by the monster. This tradition was created to ensure children at their best behavior during the festival season.
A very popular tradition in Mexico is tying Pinatas. This is a commonly known tradition. Pinatas are made from paper mache and come in a star shape, as well as the shape of other animals. They are usually filled with candies. During the celebrations, people break the piñata blindfolded. It is believed that this tradition originated among the Aztecs. The Spanish brought this to Europe and from there to Mexico. While it is used in many celebrations, its use is most popular during Christmas.
5. Christmas pickle
The tradition of using a pickle as a decoration for Christmas is popular in many places. The origin of this tradition was in Germany. It is not a real pickle that is used, but one made of glass. The glass pickle is hidden inside the tree. The person who finds it usually gets a gift or is assured of good luck for the rest of the year. This is a fun tradition that has become very popular and people compete among themselves to find the pickle ornament.
6. Spider web ornaments
There is a very strange tradition in Ukraine, that of Christmas spiders. Ornaments that look like spider webs are used to decorate the Christmas tree. It is believed that a poor woman who didn’t have ornaments was once miraculously gifted with sparkling spider webs for decoration. It is said that these spider web decorations bring good luck. This tradition is also celebrated in parts of Poland and Ukraine.
7. Lottery numbers
A unique tradition followed in Spain is that of the Christmas lottery. The National Lottery in Spain offers the El Gordo lottery, known as the ‘fat one’. The lottery result is declared on December 22nd and is a grand event. A choir comprising 22 school children sings out the numbers of the winning ticket. Many Spaniards buy the ticket and hope to win the grand prize for Christmas.
8. Waiting for the star
In Poland, people wait for the Christmas star on Christmas Eve. A tradition followed here is that people don’t eat until they spot a star in the night sky. They wait until the star is sighted before having Christmas Eve dinner. It is believed that the star is a message from the heavens asking people to eat and celebrate the occasion. In some places, people do not open their presents until they see the guiding star.
9. The Grand Dinner
Christmas dinners are popular worldwide. Families get together and enjoy a hearty meal to celebrate the occasion. The grandest Christmas dinner is celebrated in Ukraine. This dinner takes quite a lot of time to finish and is the biggest of them all. There are 12 courses served at dinner and families enjoy a hearty meal. This tradition is followed to commemorate the 12 apostles of Jesus.
10. Santa’s Mailbox
Kids love to write to Santa Claus. But a fact not many people know is you can get a reply from Santa. There is a mailbox dedicated to Santa Claus in Canada. If you write a letter to Santa at this address, you will get a reply. The mailbox number is interesting. It is H0H0H0, which stands for Santa’s laugh (Ho Ho Ho). The address is Santa Claus, North Pole, Mailbox H0H0H0. The best part is that no stamps are needed for this letter.
11. Roller skating
Most people walk or drive down to the Christmas service at their nearest church. But the scene is different in Venezuela. Here, you will see people roller skating to church. This is an interesting tradition that is celebrated only here. Many of the streets in the capital Caracas are closed to accommodate the roller skaters.
12. Saunas for Christmas
In Finland, people use a sauna for Christmas. This is a different tradition observed only by the Finnish people. As is known, Christmas comes in the cold season. A warm sauna bath would be enjoyable, which is why the Finns get into the sauna for Christmas. This tradition is observed even in Sweden. Most Finns have a sauna at home, so they can observe the tradition on Christmas Eve.