Christmas brings with it a lot of joy and festive cheer, and some bizzare traditions as well! From a customary visit to KFC, to set up the table for the dead, here are some Christmas traditions you never knew (or imagined!) existed around the world.
KFC dinner in Japan
In the 1970s, people in Japan would struggle to find a turkey or a chick for Christmas Eve dinner, and would hence find themselves at the next best thing to a chicken dinner – KFC. Thanks to a genius advertising campaign by KFC, surrounding this particular dilemma, a trip to the outlet is now a tradition for people in Japan, and KFC even urges their Japanese customers to order in advance due to the heavy demand.
Hiding brooms in Norway
The people of Norway believe that the arrival of Christmas Eve brings with it evil spirits and bad omens. As a precaution, all households hide all the brooms in the house before going to bed, since brooms are often associated with witchcraft and evil spirits.
Roller-skating to church in Venezuela
Venezuelans certainly believe in making a grand entrance – on roller skates! The residents of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, developed a strange tradition of journeying to Christmas Mass on roller skates. The tradition is so religiously observed, that the streets are cleared of traffic to offer worshipers a safe passage to Church.
Spider ornaments in Ukraine
Legend has it that in Ukraine, there once was a woman so poor that she couldn’t afford decorations on her Christmas tree. When she woke up on Christmas morning, she discovered that a spider had covered the tree in a sparkly web. As an ode to that tradition, people in Ukraine adorn their Christmas trees with an artificial spider and web, in addition to the fairy lights and baubles.
Mare-y Christmas in Wales
Certain rural areas of Wales observe a Christmas tradition called ‘Mari Lwyd’. A villager must parade around the streets with a mare’s skull fastened to the end of a pole while the other villagers sing songs. White sheets are you to cover the pole and the person carrying it. Sometimes a spring is fitted into the mare’s jaw to snap at passers-by.
Dining with the Dead in Portugal
During the Christmas feats in Portugal, families set up extra place at the dining table for deceased relatives. This is done to ensure good luck and fortune to all the living members of the household.
Radish exhibition in Mexico
The residents of the Mexican city of Oaxaca host an exhibition of sculptures made from radishes. The theme is usually scenes from the nativity, and the winner gets their photo featured in next day’s newspaper. Although the origin of the tradition are unknown, residents are believed to have place radish figures outside their houses as a substitute for a snowman.