In most Christmas-celebrating cultures there are some basics: families coming together, having a festive meal and often there are presents involved. But of course, in different parts of the world, people have their own specific traditions for the month of December. Here are 5 curious Christmas traditions from around the world.
KFC for Christmas – Japan
Japanese people don’t always celebrate Christmas, but when they do, it’s with KFC. In the 1970s a KFC manager saw a marketing opportunity when he heard that foreigners in Japan missed having turkey for Christmas. He saw fried chicken as a possible substitute and introduced a Christmas party bucket.
Nowadays December is the busiest month for KFC and Japanese families make sure to order their fried chicken in advance for this holiday. And for dessert there is a traditional Japanese Christmas cake which you have definitely seen before because it is the shortcake emoji: 🍰
The Krampus threatens to kidnap naughty children – Austria
Naughty children living in Austria must be very brave… because there if you are a troublemaker the Krampus will put you inside a bag and kidnap you! Terrifying! 😱 According to the Austrian tradition, the Krampus is a ghoulish creature and Saint Nicholas’ evil helper that takes care of the badly-behaved children, while Saint Nicholas brings presents to the well-behaved ones.
The first week of December, especially before Saint Nicholas day (on the 6th), young Austrians will dress up as the Krampus and scare the children in the streets with bells and with their masks.
Beating a wooden log with a stick until it poops gifts – Catalonia, Spain
Yes, you have read that correctly… “El tió de Nadal” also known simply as “Caga Tió” (how most people call it), roughly translates to “the pooping log”. This is a wooden log that poops presents after being beaten by a stick on Christmas eve. As made up as this might seem, it’s a pagan tradition that has been around for many centuries in the north-east region of Spain, Catalunya.
Around mid-December kids start feeding the “Caga Tió” with fruits and nuts for it to get ready for Christmas Eve. On that day, you must leave him under a blanket all tucked in to keep him warm. After dinner, all the kids in the house beat the log with a stick while they sing a popular song. Then they uncover the blanket to realize he has magically pooped them presents (normally candy, chocolate or small Christmas gifts).
What do you think about this tradition? Would you switch your Santa Claus for “Caga Tió”? 🤔
Will the Yule Goat survive this year? – Sweden
This Christmas tradition from Sweden dates back to the 11th century where there are mentions of a man-sized goat figure, led by Saint Nicholas, who had the power to control the devil. This tradition has changed over the years. In the 17th century, young men dressed as the goat pulled pranks and demanded gifts. Then the goat turned into a version of “Santa Claus” in the 19th century and brought gifts for everyone. Nowadays it’s a completely different story! The Goat serves as a Christmas ornament all around Sweden, on trees for instance.
But the one thing that stands out the most is: the Gävle goat, a giant statue of the Yule Goat made out of straw and ribbons. It’s erected every year at the beginning of December in the Swedish city of Gävle. Since its first erection in 1966 It became famous for being destroyed year after year: set on fire, broken to pieces etc. It’s like it has become its own tradition, as of December 2018 it has been damaged 37 times. They are lucky the Krampus is not Swedish 😝
Obviously, “Home Alone” is the highest grossing Christmas film – Worldwide
Macaulay Culkin is 38 years old today, but most of us will always remember him as Kevin McCallister who fights off burglars with his elaborate traps while his family enjoys a vacation without him. The film earned $761.7M* worldwide and is a Christmas classic in many countries.
The best rated Christmas movie on the platform IMDb is “It’s a wonderful life” with 8.6 stars and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with 8.4 stars. The third place goes to “Die Hard” with 8.2 stars.
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