We know that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the same way. Different countries have their own traditions – and some of them are truly bizarre.
Christmas comes but once a year. We’ve gone away and handpicked the weirdest Christmas traditions from around the word. From deep fried caterpillars to rotting birds, here are the world’s most unusual festive rituals.
- South Africa非洲
This festive South African delicacy is not for the faint hearted-on Christmas Day, Locals tuck into the deep-fried caterpillars of the Emperor Moth.
Austrian children live in fear of Krampus-a Christmas devil who’s said to beat naughty children with branches.
Catalonians include the figure of the Caganer in their nativity scenes- a small figure of a defecating man.
Catalonians also have the Tió de Nadal, otherwise known as the “pooping log”. Decorated with a face and blanket, on Christmas Eve the log is placed halfway into a fire and beaten with sticks.
There’s no cleaning on Christmas Eve in Norway- all brooms are safely hidden away, in case they’re stolen by witches and evil spirits.挪威的聖誕夜是不打掃的，所有的掃把都被藏的好好的，以免被女巫或者惡靈偷走。
Advertising can be incredibly powerful. Thanks to a campaign in 1974, many Japanese families eat at KFC on Christmas Eve.
Venezuelans attend Mass in the run-up to Christmas. However, Caracas residents have developed a strange tradition- journeying to Mass on roller skates.
Greenland has some unusual Christmas recipes. Matak is raw whale skin, served with blubber. Kiviak is 500 dead auk birds, stuffed into a seal skin, and left to ferment for 7 months.
Germans hide a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve- the first child to discover it in the morning receives a small gift.
Rather than using the traditional conifer, New Zealanders decorate Pōhutukawa trees at Christmas.
Consoda is a traditional Christmas morning feast in Portugal. This is a time for remembering the dead, and families lay places for the souls of their late loved ones.
German children leave a shoe outside the house on December 5th, which is then filled with sweets overnight. Naughty children awake to find a tree branch in the shoe instead.
Ukrainians forego tinsel and baubles, instead decorating their Christmas trees with an artificial spider and web.
In the Czech Republic, unmarried women stand by a door and throw a shoe over their shoulder- if the toe is pointing towards the door when it lands, they will get married within the next year.
On Christmas Eve, Estonian families traditionally head to the sauna together.
Mari Lwyd is performed in some Welsh villages on Christmas Eve. A villager is chosen to parade through the streets, bearing the skull of a mare on the end of a stick.
The Yule Cat is said to stalk the Icelandic hills. Those who don’t receive new clothes before Christmas Eve are said to be devoured by this mythical beast.
Since 1966, authorities in Gävle have installed a straw Swedish Yule Goat. However, almost every other year, vandals have succeeded in burning it down.
19.Another Swedish tradition involves festive rice pudding. A peeled almond is hidden in the dessert, and the person who finds it will supposedly be married within a year.
An age-old tradition dictates that each member of the family must stir the Christmas pudding mix in a clockwise direction before it’s cooked, making a wish as they do so.
Rather than Snta Claus, Italian children await the arrival of Befana, a friendly witch who delivers sweets and toys on the fifth of January.
Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. People wear white clothes, and the men play ganna- a fast-paced game with sticks and wooden balls.
In Latvia, a group of “mummers”, dressed in a variety of costumes, travel from house to house. Each household must give them a treat in return for a blessing.
Guatemalans sweep out their houses before Christmas. Each neighborhood will then create a large pile of dirt, before placing an effigy of the devil on top, and burning it
Every December, Cuban city Remedios plays host to the Parrandans festival. The city divides into two halves, each building a themed sculpture from light bulbs, in preparation for Christmas Eve.
In Bavaria, a noisy Christmas tradition has taken hold. Wearing the national costume of lederhosen, Bavarian Highlanders fire mortars into the air.
The Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil goblins, lurk underground according to Greek legend. During the 12 days of Christmas they supposedly surface, wreaking havoc.
In Slovakia, the most senior man of the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and throws it at the ceiling- the more that sticks, the better.
White Christmas cards are sent to friends and family. Red cards, however, are to be avoided- this is traditionally the color of funeral announcements.
Canada Post recognizes the address Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO. Any letters received bearing this address are both opened and replied to.
加拿大郵政承認聖誕老公公的住址，北極-加拿大-HO HO HO。任何接獲此住址寫來的信都會被開啟並回覆。
Finnish people traditionally mark Christmas with a touching tribute to the dead. Families light candles at the graves of their departed loved ones, making Finnish graveyards a beautiful sight.
Icelandic children leave a shoe on their bedroom windowsills during the 12 days of Christmas. Each night, it’s filled with sweets or gifts, ready to be enjoyed in the morning.
Santa Claus traditionally leaves presents in a child’s stocking on Christmas Eve. However, naughty children may wake up on Christmas morning to find a lump of coal in their stockings.
South African children are told the story of Danny, a young boy who angered his grandmother by eating the cookies that had been left for Santa. In her range she killed him, and he is said to haunt homes at Christmas
Americans have created a boozy Christmas tradition called The Running of the Santas. Each event sees scores of people- dressed as Santa- taking part in a large bar crawl.