Christmas Traditions Around the World

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        Japan: KFC Bucket of Chicken for Christmas Dinner



        Some Japanese homes have KFC fried chicken as the main dish at Christmas. Because there is a shortage of turkeys, KFC seized the moment and the fried chicken is so popular you have to order weeks in advance for the holidays.

        Greenland: Eat "Kiviak" - fermented birds



        One of Greenland's favorite dishes is Kiviak. To make Kiviak put up to 500 whole auks (local birds) including feathers, beaks and all in a seal skin, which is then sewn up and sealed with grease. Place a large rock on top keeping air tight and let the whole package sit for months. When opened  auks are fermented and smell like Stilton cheese and are condsidered a tasty meal.

        Spain, Catalonia: Caganer ('Crapper')



        Statues of well-known and regular people defecating are a  Christmas tradition in Catalonia. Its history dates back  to the 18th century as Catalonians hide caganers in Christmas Nativity scenes and invite friends to find them. The figures symbolize fertilization, hope and prosperity for the new year. 

        Ukraine: Christmas trees decorated in spider webs



        In Ukraine, Christmas trees are often decorated with (fake) spider webs for good luck during the coming year. Legend says a family in poverty went to bed on Christmas eve despondent because they wouldn't be able to decorate their tree. The spiders, roaming the home's walls and floors, heard the cries of the family, and took it upon themselves to decorate the tree with their webs. On Christmas day, the strands turned to gold and silver, changing the family's fortune forever.

        Italy: La Befana



        La Befana is in many ways like Santa Claus, but instead she's a witch who flies on a broom delivering sweets and treats on the eve of Epiphany Day, which typically falls on January 6.

        Iceland: The Yule Cat (Jolakotturinn)



        One famous Icelandic Christmas character is the scary Yule Cat who eats children who haven't worked hard enough. But if you have completed all your work before Christmas you get new clothes and are safe. The scary Icelandic Yule cat only looks for the lazy ones in old clothes.

        Estonia: Sauna bath on Christmas Eve



        In Estonia Christmas is celebrated with some pagan traditions celebrating the Winter Solstice and Christmas. Christmas is usually celebrated on Christmas Eve and then most Estonians start off with a visit to the nearest sauna where they usually bathe nude.

        Britain: Stirring the Christmas Pudding



        In Britain,  Christmas Pudding, also called plum pudding, is a popular tradition. Many families recipes date back generations. The puddings are almost black, due to the long cooking time and the dark sugar, and are moistened with juice or brandy. Traditionally made at least four or five weeks before Christmas, and it can last up to a year. 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.

        Sweden: Christmas Straw Goats



        Christmas goats are a big part of Swedish Christmas celebrations from small ornaments to massive goats. The big goat is notorious for being vandalized or burnt down often. Since 1966, the Straw Goat has survived until Christmas Day only 13 times. The arsonists succeeded in 2012, burning the goat to the ground on December 12.

        Austria: Krampus, St. Nicholas helper



        Krampus is a scary companion of St. Nicholas and one of Austria's unique Advent traditions, is seen during a traditional Krampus procession in the city of Hallein in Salzburg.

        Norway - Hide the brooms



        In the days gone by, people believed witches came out on Christmas Eve to look for brooms to ride on, so they hid them all ways possible. Today Norwegian women still hide all brooms in their house before going to bed on Christmas Eve.

        Sweden: Find the almond in the rice pudding



        In Sweden, you eat rice pudding at Christmas and the big question is: Who will get the almond? There is one peeled almond hiding somewhere in the rice pudding and the lucky one who gets it will get married within a year.

        What are some of your traditions?


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        Feelin froggy

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        I love the spider webs in the Ukraine. The story behind it is very cool.
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        We have plenty of such traditions in Romania, I don't even know them all. You can see one below, called The Bear Dance. It's less fun than it used to be, in the old days they had a real bear in the dance. This tradition tradition aims to purify and fertilize the soil for the next year and it involves a few blokes dancing around dressed like bears.

        http://www.youtube.com/v/XmAHHTKeyLU" width="500" height="350" play="true" loop="true" quality="high" AllowScriptAccess="never" /><a href=" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/XmAHHTKeyLU">http://www.youtube.com/v/XmAHHTKeyLU</a>" target="_blank"> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/XmAHHTKeyLU">http://www.youtube.com/v/XmAHHTKeyLU</a></a>
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        fried-eggs

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        Very unique traditions, a lot of work I'm sure went into this post Lips. Thanks for sharing!
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        marcus2281

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        Never heard of that xmas pudding stirring and making a wish tradition here in the UK. I would be surprised if anyone still does that since people will just buy 1 from a supermarket for a few £'s nowadays.

        Only "traditions" that still really exist here is nearly every town will have xmas lights and a tree in the town centre. They get turned on in November and every Wednesday up til xmas is late night shopping where shops open for an extra few hours..... I don't think that's a very old tradition though and could be the same around the world

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        I like Icelandic scary cat, and Estonian sauna bath on Christmas Eve - that sounds exciting.
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        Lootva

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        Chrismas is a good time to reflect on many differences that make us unique. We should never forget how wonderfull is to have all those traditions, if nothing else, then for a nice excuse to take a break from your work and spend time with your family.
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        blueday

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          Really interesting reading all these traditions.  Thanks Lips.

          marcus2281 wrote:

          Never heard of that xmas pudding stirring and making a wish tradition here in the UK. I would be surprised if anyone still does that since people will just buy 1 from a supermarket for a few £'s nowadays.

          Only "traditions" that still really exist here is nearly every town will have xmas lights and a tree in the town centre. They get turned on in November and every Wednesday up til xmas is late night shopping where shops open for an extra few hours..... I don't think that's a very old tradition though and could be the same around the world


          You've never heard of the Christmas pudding stirring tradition?  I am so surprised.  When we were kids we did it every year.  My Aunty makes my Christmas pudding for me each year and I had my stir and made a wish a few weeks ago.

          The only difference with today is that we don't put silver sixpences in the pudding.  If you found one of those, you were to find wealth and good fortune for the year.  I remember eating those little coins when I was a kid and I have kept all mine.  Am I sad or what?



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          bingocrazy48

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          Thanks for all the info Lips,very interesting!!

          @ Blue...nothing sad about that at all!!
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          blueday

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            Rosebud wrote:

            @ Blue...nothing sad about that at all!!


            Thanks Rosebud.  Sadly that part of the tradition is no longer around and hasn't been since decimalization....it's just the bit that Lips posted about now.
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            Lootva

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            Never heard of pudding stirring either! Well, maybe I will make it a part of my tradition starting this year effectively.

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