7 Bizarre Christmas Traditions from Around the World
Christmas is celebrated in countless ways you might never imagine around the globe. Some decorate trees, hang mistletoe and drink eggnog while others go out to the movies and eat Chinese food. Then there are those who display pooping figurines, hide all the brooms in the house or roller skate to mass. Read on to find out how some of us in other parts of the world celebrate this season in the most weird and interesting way.
7 | Krampus Night
You might want to think twice about being on Santa’s naughty list because of his evil twin Krampus. Krampus beats and punishes children who misbehave. On Krampus Night which usually happens on the 6th of December, men dress up in the scariest devil-like costumes you could imagine and run around town hitting people with sticks. This legend was said to originate from the Germanic Alpine regions and very popular in Austria.
6 | Spider Christmas Tree
In Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with all the typical kinds of ornaments and one not so typical. An artificial spider and web are hidden in the tree and good luck is given to the one who finds it. A Ukrainian folk tale says that a poor widowed mother could not afford decorations for her family’s Christmas tree. One Christmas morning she woke up only to find a spider had already beautifully decorated the tree with its web, making for a very happy Christmas.
5 | Church Rollers
In Caracas, Venezuela, church-goers attend an early morning mass between December 16th and December 24th. Not so strange for a mostly Catholic population. What is unusual about this practice is how everyone gets to church: on roller skates. The streets are blocked off to vehicular traffic until 8 am and children. The night before, they tie one end of a piece of string to their big toes and hang the other end out the window. As roller skaters go by the next morning, they give a tug to all the strings hanging out the windows.
4 | Santa Claus vs. La Befana
The Vatican, unable to prove the existence of modern-day Santa Claus decided to tell kids that a kindly old witch, La Befana, delivers presents to them. So instead of waiting enthusiastically for Santa to arrive in his reindeer sleigh, the children dreams of a witch bringing them Christmas gifts.
3 | Mumming
The best-known Latvian Christmas tradition is an odd custom called mumming. “Mummers” wear an assortment of masks, the most traditional ones include faces of bears, horses, goats, gypsies, and, amusingly, living corpses. People get out into the streets as they parade around for a delightful sight.
2 | Witches on Christmas Eve
Not only are witches active on Hallows Eve but on Christmas as well. In Norway, on Christmas Eve, all the brooms in the house are hidden as the Norwegians have an ancient belief that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms to ride into the skies.
1 | Caganer Figurines
A traditional Christmas tradition in parts of Spain is to set up a mini village of Bethlehem. Along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and a Caganer in English, is placed in the scene. The Caganer is a figurine, traditionally of a man, in the act of defecating, pants around his knees bending over with pile of feces at his heels. The Caganer has been around for a few hundred years and in recent times it has evolved from a traditionally dressed man taking care of business to figurines of celebrities, nuns, politicians and Santa Claus.