In the spirit of Christmas music already being played on several radio stations, I’m going to keep up with that trend. Here are six quirky Christmas traditions from around the world!
Number six is coming to us from the Ukraine, we’re focusing on the tree. In the Ukraine, amongst the traditional ornaments, garlands, and lights, they hide a spider and its web. This comes from a folk tale saying that a widow could not afford decorations for her tree, and awoke on Christmas morning to find a spider had elegantly decorated it with its web. These days, good luck is given to the one who finds the spider and its web hidden in the tree.
Fifth is not so surprisingly coming at us from Japan. In Japan, a traditional Christmas dinner is KFC. Yes, you read that correctly. KFC as in Kentucky fried chicken, as in the greasy, bucket loads of fried chicken. Its so popular in Japan, and so widely well marketed across the country that it is quite possible you’d need to make reservations in order to eat there on Christmas day. While "Toonie Tuesday" is pretty popular in the Western world, I'm not sure anyone's ever had to make reservations at the fast food restaurant KFC.
Number four is from the Czech Republic. This one is mainly for the women. The unmarried women of the family would stand with their backs to the door, and toss one of their shoes over their shoulders. This is to find out their marital status for the coming year. If the shoe lands with the toe pointing towards the door, it means this will be your lucky year! It means that you will be married within the year. If it faces the opposite direction, unfortunately you will remain single. Go ahead, give it a try!
Third on this list is from Austria. You may have seen the Christmas/horror movie from a few years back called Krampus. Turns out it’s based on Santa’s evil twin, Krampus Night. That’s right folks, even Christmas can be scary. This tradition falls way before Christmas, on December fifth. On this night men dress up as the devil like creature, Krampus, and run around hitting people with sticks. Random, right? Well taking the naughty list to the next level, Santa’s twin was in charge of punishing and actually beating the children who were unfortunate enough to land on the list. What a Holly jolly season, eh?
Second is the Santa Claus World Championships. Oh yeah, you read it. In Switzerland, it has become a yearly tradition for the town of Samnaun to host the championship games, known as ClauWau. These games bring Santa Claus’s from around the world to meet at a ski resort and compete in Christmas themed games such as chimney climbing, gingerbread decorating contests, and snowshoe races. The best part? All the competitors dress up as good ol’Kris Kringle.
The former Yugoslavia
And the winner of the most quirky Christmas tradition comes from the former Yugoslavia, where the children have dubbed the second Sunday before Christmas as mother’s day. All fine and dandy right? But instead of just bringing her breakfast in bed like most children from around here do, these children tie her hands and feet to a chair. They literally tie their mother up, and yell at her, “mothers day, mother’s day, what will you pay to get away?”. So, to celebrate this pre-Christmas mother’s day, the children’s mothers give them gifts to celebrate. How sweet, right?
As you can see, there is more to Christmas than just piling gifts under the tree. From spiders, to scary stick wielding monsters, to fortune telling, to even Santa championships, the craziness just starts there.