And You Thought Your Christmas Was Odd…

candles christmasAdvent has begun and Christmas is approaching. We can now justify listening to festive songs, although I’ve been doing that since November 1st. I know, shameful!

Of course, Christmas is a time of fun, eating, drinking and funny traditions. The things we do around this time can be strange, especially compared to how we conduct our lives during the rest of the year. However, there are some places in the world with some really odd, hilarious and outrageous traditions. Let’s take a few examples…

1. A Christmas tradition in parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy, is to set up a model village of Bethlehem but along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus you will find a red-capped peasant called El Caganer, which translates to “the great defecator” in Catalonian. However, it’s not considered sacrilegious – the “fertilizer” means the year will yield a good harvest!

2. During December, there’s a very unique tradition that takes place in Caracas, Venezuela. The busy city streets of Caracas are closed off to all cars in order to allow everyone to roller-skate to early morning Mass!

3. In Ukraine Christmas trees are decorated with all the typical kinds of ornaments and one not so typical. An artificial spider is hidden in the tree and good luck is given to the one who finds it!

4. According to Norwegian legend on Christmas eve witches and evil spirits come out to find brooms to ride. All of the brooms in the house are hidden and the male members of the family go outside to fire guns so that they may scare off evil spirits.

5. In southern Louisiana massive bonfires are burned every Christmas Eve to light up the river so that Santa Claus can find their houses.

6. Christmas Eve in the Czech Republic is supposedly a single lady’s chance to find out what her future holds. Standing outside her front door if she throws a shoe over her shoulder and it lands with the toes pointing towards the door she’ll be married the following year!

7. For many people in Japan, traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). It is so popular and well marketed across the country that you would have to make a reservation to eat at a KFC on Christmas!

8. Of course, this time of year is Summer for the Southern Hemisphere. So it wouldn’t be strange to have a BBQ on a beach in Australia!

So, if you want to do something different this year, why not introduce one of these quirky and interesting traditions to spice up your Christmas?! Whatever you plan to do and wherever you plan to celebrate, have a Merry Christmas!

-Joseph Meaden

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