10 Delightful Christmas Traditions From Around The World
“Santa Claus is coming to town…!” Hey, Fellas! Christmas is just two days away and last minute preparations are in full swing. Checking if all the lights around the house are working, making sure you have the right ingredients to bake the treats of the feast, going through the list of gifts again to see if you got all the gifts and losing yourself in the local holiday celebrations. Everything about Christmas feels merry and cheerful with that festive vibe surrounding the whole world. People head back to their homes to be their family and friends with no plans to go anywhere else. But how about we plan something different this time? There are so many places around the world that celebrate Christmas in ways you could never think of. So, buckle up now and get ready to celebrate Christmas in 10 different ways in 10 different countries.
Santa Claus is an important part of Christmas celebration in Canada. Yes, yes, we know he is a big part in other countries too, but Santa Claus IS from Canada, or that’s what they believe. Now make your way to Toronto because their craze for the old man is out of this world. Every year on the third Sunday of November, the city hosts the Toronto Santa Claus Parade with over a million people coming from far and wide to see. An annual Cavalcade of Lights officially marks the beginning of the festive season where the Nathan Phillips Square and Christmas tree are decorated with more than 300,000 LED lights.
Ever thought of celebrating Christmas on roller-blades? That’s what the Venezuelans thought- improving Christmas with some roller-blading. Don’t ask why just listen to this- people in the capital city of Caracas have this tradition of roller-skating to the early morning church services from 16th to 24th December. The police close down the roads to traffic by 8.00am for the people to skate safely! Get your boots on guys!
Christmas for one day… Na, that’s too short to celebrate… why not have it for 13 days? Yep, that’s how the Icelanders do it! 13 nights to Christmas and Yule lads visit children across the country and for each night of Yuletide, kids place their best shoes by the window. The story behind it is that Yule Lads would leave a gift in the shoes for the well-behaved children and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones. This tradition is based on the folklore of 13 naughty boys of the ogress, Gryla who lived in the mountains but came down on Christmas for her favourite snack- naughty children.
There’s a reason by the city of San Fernando is called the “Christmas Capital of Philippines”. 11 villages take part in the Giant Lantern Festival and as the name goes, it’s a competition to build the most elaborate lantern. What started off as a simple tradition of making lanterns using Japanese origami papers has now turned into a big festival with lanterns being made from a variety of materials. As the night lights up with lamps and lights, it’s a sight to behold.
Ukrainians have a different idea about decorating the Christmas tree than the rest of the world. While we prefer to do it with a big stash of felt toys, metallic stars, pines, banners and LED lights, the Ukrainians do it with spider webs. They use small ornaments in the shape of spiders and webs are hung on the Christmas tree. The legend has it that once a poor widow lived with her kids in a small hut and had no money to decorate the tree for Christmas. But in the Christmas day when the children woke up, the tree was covered in webs that glimmered gold and silver in the morning light. Now, they celebrate the legend across the country.
Swedish people have a pretty strange way of celebrating Christmas. Uuhmm… they put up a gigantic straw statue of a goat in the centre of Gavle’s Castle Square on December 1st. But what made them think of making a goat statue? Well, the Yule goat was supposed to help deliver presents, that’ why Santa Clause would ride a goat instead of his sleigh! So, in 1966, when the people of Gavle thought a giant Yule goat is the best way for an over-the-top Christmas. But why use something as inflammable as dry straws? We are directing your focus here because the Gavle Yule goat has been destroyed 35 times in the last 50 years.
The good old way of dressing up as Santa and giving sweets is too boring for the Austrians. What you’ll see in the streets of Austria is a beast-like demon creature that roams around frightening children and punishing the bad ones. In Austrian traditions, St. Nicholas rewards good girls and boys, while Krampus, the evil companion captures the naughtiest kids and whisks them away in his sack. Hence, on St. Nicholas Day, men dress up as Krampus and go around town frightening children with clattering chains and bells.
The Little Candles Day is one of the most celebrated traditional holidays, in Colombia celebrated on December 7. Some call it the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the country. The starting night is one to witness! People place candles and lanterns on their balconies, windows, sidewalks, streets and parks to commence the festive season. Tell you what, they take it quite seriously that neighbours compete with each other to be tagged the best-decorated house.
No matter how different and wild the Russians live their life, their Christmas is quite close to the way the rest of the world celebrates it. While we our Santa Uncle giving us gifts, the Russians prefer, ‘Babouschka’ to do the same. Don’t worry peeps, it’s not a nuclear missile, it’s what Russians call their grandmas. On January 7th (that’s when they celebrate Christmas) old grannies play Santa. The biblical story behind this tradition is that a woman did not give a gift to the baby Jesus, so to repent for the lady’s deed, grandmothers give gifts to the children.
This is gotta be the most bizarre Christmas Eve traditions in the whole list. What is it? Well, people hide their brooms. The tradition goes back centuries when people believed that witches would steal the brooms for a midnight ride. And that’s why to this date, Norwegians hide their brooms in the darkest corners of the house to protect them. But that’s not it, our precious readers! You gotta hear about the porridge ritual. It is believed that if nisse, a small gnome-like guardian spirit who lives in the Norwegian barns, doesn’t get porridge left out for him with a big dollop of butter on top, he will wreak havoc. The little monster might tie the tails of the cows to show his utter unhappiness!