The Christmas Holiday Season is celebrated differently all around the world. Different countries have different traditions they celebrate every year. Not every culture leaves milk and cookies for Santa and his reindeer, decorates evergreen trees with lights and ornaments, or hangs stockings on fireplace mantels. In fact, many countries have what seem to us, very strange traditions that would likely be viewed by most Americans as odd.
Unusual Christmas Traditions Celebrated Today:
- In Catalonia, families gather around the “caga tio”. The “caga tio” is a hollowed out log that features a cartoon face. It is stuffed with candy and treats starting on December 8 and ending on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day the “caga tio” is put in the fireplace and beat with a stick until the candy comes out. “Caga tio” literally translates to “pooping log”. Catalonians’ sing a song that, when translated into English, says, “If you don’t poop, well, I’ll hit you with a stick.”
- In Austria, children have a lot more to worry about than just getting coal in their stocking! Many European children fear Krampus, a beast-like creature from a folklore of Alpine countries, often referred to as Santa’s evil twin. Krampus is thought to capture and punish bad children, while Saint Nicholas rewards nice children with gifts. Krampus’ job is to punish all the children who have misbehaved throughout the year. On the evening of December 5, Austrian men dress-up in scary demon costumes and run through the streets chasing children with rusty chains and bells. They have also been known to carry bundles of birch branches and, occasionally, use them to swat at children.
- In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken is very popular during the Christmas season due to a very expensive ad campaign. In 1974, the fast food chain started promoting the catchphrase “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!). Statues of Colonel Sanders, known as Colonel Santa during the Christmas season, are decorated in Santa costumes. The custom of eating KFC for Christmas is so popular, that Japanese citizens make reservations or order their buckets a month in advance at their local KFC for Christmas day, or risk standing in line for hours starting on December 24.
These are just a few Christmas traditions that Americans might find strange. There are many other ways that people celebrate Christmas, leave a comment below to share any strange holiday traditions you may know!