Bizarre Christmas Traditions
19th December 2017
Christmas is celebrated (and not celebrated) in countless ways around the globe. Here's some of the most unusual ones we could find on the net.
Are you from any of these nations and know if they are true and practiced today? Do you know of any more?
Norway - hiding brooms
Norwegians hide all their brooms on Christmas Eve, a preventative measure against evil witches, as apparently Christmas Eve is a prime broom-joyriding time in Norway.
Britain - stirring the pudding
In Britain, legend has it that if the Christmas pudding is mixed in a clockwise direction and you make a wish, the wish will come true.
Czech Republic - lose a shoe gain a man
Singletons in the Czech Republic toss one of their shoes over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door, it means they’ll get married within the year.
Portugal – ‘consoda’
The ‘consoda’ feast takes place Christmas Day in Portugal. An extra place is set at thetable for the souls of the dead. By offering them food, it is supposed to bring luck for the entire year.
Spain - el caganer
In Catalonia, El Caganer “the great defecator” is a figurine for the nativity scene. He’s a red-capped peasant, or a monk, or another type of figure (nowadays often famous people). He is placed at a small distance from the rest of the figures in a nativity scene. It’s not sacrilegious – the “fertilizer” means the year will yield a good harvest.
Apparently in Austria, St Nicholas has an evil counterpart called Krampus. He is the bad cop to St Nick’s good cop, a demon-like creature with one task: to punish bad children before Christmas. Men dressed in devil costumes roam the streets, carrying chains and a basket for abducting especially bad children and hauling them to hell.
Ukraine – spider’s web
In Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with all the typical kinds of ornaments and one not so typical. An artificial spider and web are hidden in the tree and good luck is given to the one who finds it. A Ukrainian folk tale says that a poor widowed mother could not afford decorations for her family’s Christmas tree. One Christmas morning she awoke to find a spider had beautifully decorated the tree with its web, making for a very happy Christmas.
Venezuela - skating to church
In the capital, Caracas in the week leading up to Christmas, Venezuelans attend a daily church service called Misa de Aguinaldo ('Early Morning Mass'). It is customary to travel to the church service on roller skates.