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?
Christmas Traditions Around the World
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