Twelve Distinct Christmas Customs From Around The World
In various regions of the world, there are some truly unusual and slightly strange traditions that are followed. Here is a list of only a few...
1. PURCHASE STUFF FROM GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Numerous German cities, including Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, and Düsseldorf, are home to magnificent Christkindlmarkts, or Christmas Markets, where locals and visitors can shop for hand-crafted trinkets and sweets with holiday themes, like lebkuchen and pfeffernüsse. Some of these outdoor markets and villages from the past 500 years are recreated every year. This year, if you do happen to be at a German Christmas market, be sure to follow any social distance recommendations and mask-wearing conventions.
2. UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTIES
Over the past couple of years, this subject has gained some popularity. Holiday attire that our parents and grandparents wore is now the punchline of the joke at these gatherings and has developed into a humorous family activity. It's likely that the custom of donning outrageous holiday sweaters will endure and keep people laughing together. Think about throwing an ugly sweater party! Check out our selection of Christmas outfit ideas for the ideal family holiday card if you're planning on dressing up.
3. ATTEMPT A POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
On Christmas morning, how about a nice swim in some ice-cold water? Hundreds of people in Brighton, England schedule a Christmas Day dip every year wearing only a swimsuit and their Santa hat. This may not be for you. This custom is not only practiced in Brighton, but also in Dublin, Sandycove, London's Serpentine Lake, and many other chilly bodies of water around the world. It's not for everyone to consider diving into the icy Irish Sea on Christmas morning.
4. CONSUME KFC
Christmas is not a widely observed holiday in Japan, but a relatively new custom has emerged where families feast on Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Day.
5. HIDE THE BROOMS
The act of hiding every broom in the house on Christmas Eve is a long-standing custom in Norway. Witches and other evil spirits are prevented from finding a vehicle by this action.
6. SKATEBOARDING DOWN CITY STREETS
Hundreds of Venezuelans in Caracas ride their roller skates to church before returning home to enjoy their tamale-filled Christmas feast. To participate in this unusual annual tradition and skate to church safely, all of the city's roads are closed to automobile traffic.
7. STEP BACK IN TIME AT A DICKENS FAIR
Every holiday season, Dickens Fairs are held in numerous cities across the U.S. and Europe. One is held every year in San Francisco since 1970. The event will give attendees the impression that they have traveled back in time to a Victorian London setting where bangers and mash are served at every other food stall and old-timey language is used.
8. BUILD GIANT LANTERNS
On the Saturday before Christmas Eve, eleven villages in the Philippine city of San Fernando compete to make the largest lanterns. This competition, also known as The Giant Lantern Festival, draws spectators from all over the nation to see this spectacle. The lanterns were initially small and straightforward works of art, but as time went on, they grew larger and more intricate, almost reaching 20 feet. Electric bulbs are used to illuminate the kaleidoscope-patterned lanterns.
9. ATTEND THE KRAMPUS PARADE
In Austria, one of the spookier holiday customs takes place. While St. Nicholas rewards good children with gifts, his evil helper Krampus is said to round up the misbehaving kids and carry them off in a sack. In the Krampus Parade, which has gained popularity throughout Europe, young men dress up as the half-man, half-goat Krampus to scare children.
10. VIEW THE YULE GOAT
The Yule Goat, a massive straw goat made in Sweden that is over 42 feet high, 23 feet wide, and over 3 tons in weight. The goat is erected in the same location each year. From the first Sunday of Advent until it is taken down at the start of the New Year, you can watch a live stream if you are unable to see the Yule Goat in person. The Yule Goats have recently been set on fire by vandals because they are made of straw and make for simple prey.
11. ICE SKATE IN DOWNTOWN NEW YORK
One of the most recognizable outdoor ice skating rinks in the world has to be The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Each year, the seasonal rink debuts around the end of October, but it isn't until the Rockefeller Center Tree is lit in early December that it really begins to draw skaters. To find out what specific socially awkward rules might be in effect, call ahead.
12. EAT FRIED CATERPILLARS
How about frying caterpillars for Christmas dinner instead of a roast turkey or ham? During Christmas, this delicacy is served in South Africa. The Pine Tree Emperor Moth, also called the Christmas Caterpillar, is covered in various colors and is rumored to bring its eaters a little extra luck in the coming year.
Whatever Christmas customs you follow, the holiday season is always a joyous time to spend with family and friends and celebrate special occasions. Merry Christmas!