15 Weird Christmas Traditions From Around The World
Though Christmas has become a widely secular celebration in the Western hemisphere, most countries still have their own unique ways of celebrating. Take a look at some of the most interesting customs.
In South Africa, one custom is to eat deep-fried caterpillars of the Emperor Moth. There's also folklore that centers on a boy named Danny. His grandmother was so angry he'd eaten Santa's cookies that she killed him. He's believed to haunt homes during Christmastime.
Austrians teach children about Krampus, a devil-like character. Naughty children are taught that he'll beat them with branches, which does sound slightly less traumatizing than a lump of coal.
Rather than cleaning on Christmas Eve, Norwegians hide their brooms so that witches and other evil spirits won't take them. Other than witches though, we're not entirely sure which magical creatures would seek out brooms.
Rather than decorating trees with ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainians use a fake spider and web, similar to the traditional American Halloween decorations.
It's become a tradition to spend Christmas Eve eating at KFC, which can be traced back to an influential ad campaign from 1974. Another Japanese custom is to send white Christmas cards to loved ones.
On Dec. 5, German children leave a shoe outside. If they were good, the shoe will be filled with sweets come morning. If they were naughty, there will be a branch in the shoe instead.
The Portuguese have a morning feast, Consoda, intended for honoring deceased loved ones. There are even places set at the table for the souls of those who have passed.
People sweep their homes prior to Christmas. The neighborhood then combines their dirt together in a pile and place a model of the devil atop, which they subsequently burn.
In certain Welsh villages, there's a tradition known as Mari Lwyd. One person is chosen to go through the streets, with the skull of a mare, which will be on the end of a stick.
Christmas Eve means a family trip to the sauna. That might sound odd, but given how cold Eastern Europe is, it makes sense Estonians would do whatever possible to keep warm.
Great BritainFelicity Cloake for the Guardian
It's customary to have every family member stir uncooked pudding mix clockwise, making a wish as they stir. Unlike American pudding though, this consists of dried fruits, suet, and egg. It's flavored with multiple spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
There's said to be a Yule Cat that roams the hills of Iceland. People who aren't given new clothing prior to Christmas Eve are believed to be eaten up by said cat.
Christmas isn't celebrated on Dec. 25 in Ethiopia, but on Jan. 7 instead. Ethiopians deck themselves in white; the men also participate in a game called ganna.
Italian children look forward to kindly witch Befana instead of Santa Claus. Rather than just delivering toys though, Befana also brings sweets with her.
Our friends to the north really take advantage of their location. Any letters addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO, will be answered. The only question is, who's answering it: the elves, Santa, or Mrs. Claus?