Christmas Day around the World - Most Interesting Traditions
Isn’t Christmas the most wonderful time of the year? For a few weeks, the entire world seems to glow with adorable ornaments and lights, as well as cheerful laughter. People are merrier than usual and even the bitter cold somehow seems cosy and comforting.
In the US alone, there are so many traditions to celebrate this magical time: from opening Christmas presents to baking holiday cookies and trimming your Christmas tree.
But have you ever wondered how Christmas day around the world is celebrated or what some Christmas facts around the world are, when it comes to traditional celebrations? Let’s take you thorough it!
Interesting and Intriguing Christmas Celebrations around the World
Even though Christmas isn’t announced as a public holiday here, the locals still find an excuse to celebrate it in a rather “finger lickin” way. You won’t find the standard ‘gather around a turkey at the dinner table’ fair. Instead, the citizens flood their local KFC place!
This tradition kickstarted in 1974 after a marketing campaign went viral: Kentucky for Christmas or Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!
KFC has certainly held up the tradition well in Japan by taking orders months in advance or allowing diners to stand in 2-hour long lines on the big day to get their dose of the “finger lickin’ good” food.
The Yule Goat symbolizes Swedish Christmas celebration which dates back to the days of the ancient pagan festivals. But in 1966, the tradition received a makeover, so to speak, when one creative mind decided to make a giant straw goat, which now everyone calls the Gävle Goat.
There’s even a website dedicated to this which says the goat weighs 3.6 tons, measuring 23 feet wide and 42 feet high. But here’s where it gets even more interesting: the Gävle Goat is constructed from scratch in the same spot each year! Fans get to watch a life stream as it all goes down, until it is deconstructed and taken down after Christmas is over.
Here’s another country where Christmas is celebrated a little ‘differently’, compared to Christmas Day around the world in the UK or US, for example. However, Iceland celebrates 13 days of holidays, which closely resembles the US holiday season schedule of 12 days.
Every night leading up to Christmas, 13 Yule lads pay Icelandic children a visit. The little ones must place their cute little shoes by the window before heading to bed. The next morning, they will receive candy in their shoes if they went to bed on time and behaved well – or rotten potatoes if they were bad! And here we were, thinking coal was a bad gift!
Even though the US has been known for pulling back no punches when it comes to Christmas celebrations, perhaps the Philippines is worth a mention.
Every year, the beautiful city of San Fernando hosts a Giant Lantern Festival known as Ligligan Parul, which features dazzling lanterns (parols) to symbolise the Star of Bethlehem.
Every parol contains thousands of adorable spinning stars that awe the senses as they light up the night sky. It is for this reason that San Fernando has been dubbed the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
When it comes to interesting Christmas facts around the world, Finland is right up there. Finish families enjoy some milk and rice porridge by adding butter, cinnamon or more milk to their porridge-like pudding. But there’s a catch – there’s an almond hidden inside the pudding and the first one to get to it wins!
However, that doesn’t stop some Finish families from “cheating” by hiding at least a few almonds so that their little ones don’t get upset in case they don’t win. Also, as Christmas Day draws to a close, the entire family warms up together in a sauna.
Austria has perhaps one of the strangest yet most fascinating Christmas celebrations around the world. Legend has it that Krampus, a devil-like creature, joins the St. Nicholas festivities on the 6th of December. Children must come up with a list of good and bad deeds.
The good ones are delighted with apples, nuts and sweets while the bad ones worry about what Krampus might have in store for them on Christmas morning!