Your Christmas traditions probably consist of setting up a tree in the house, baking cookies, giving presents and having Christmas dinner. However, some other countries have completely unique Christmas traditions that you will think very weird. Here is a quick look on several unique Christmas traditions in various countries in the world.
La Befana, the Good Old Lady
Santa Claus is the main character in many modern Christmas traditions, but the Italians have La Befana. She is an old lady that resembles a witch with her flying broom, but she is depicted as a good witch with Santa-like role. She visits houses in early January with her flying broom, enters through the chimney and leaves presents for kids. In many Italian towns and villages, some ladies will dress up as La Befana with pheasant dresses, head scarves and carrying brooms. She is also depicted as a bit dirty from the chimney soot.
Tio de Nadal, the Defecating Log
You will not see the Yule log in the same way anymore after seeing Tio de Nadal tradition in Catalonia, Spain. In many houses, families will set up a log on a post on their dining tables, paint a face on the log and cover it with blanket. The family members will put fruits and nuts under the log’s face to ‘feed’ it.
Why do they do it? Because when Christmas morning comes, kids will gather around the log while adults beat the log several times, urging the Tio de Nadal to ‘defecate’ the presents. Behind it, an adult will hand out some presents to family members.
Krampus, Santa’s Evil Twin in Austria
This unique Christmas tradition probably will leave your own kids afraid. In Austria, there is the evil version of Santa Claus, and it is called Krampus. It dresses up like Santa, with red clothes, hat and boots. However, once it turns around, you will see a scary face. It scares bad kids while Santa goes around and gives presents to good kids. It is not uncommon to see people dresses up as Krampus in Austria during Christmas.
Night Graveyard Visits
This sounds like a scary tradition to do in holiday season, but for people in Finland, this is a must-do tradition every Christmas to pray for their dead relatives and friends. On Christmas Eve, they will go to cemeteries, light up candles around the graveyard of people they know, and pray. Actually, the view is quite spectacular, and of course, this tradition always becomes the source of headache for traffic cops in Finland every Christmas Eve.
The Scandinavian Yule Goat
Swedish people recognize the Yule Goat, a magical creature that has Santa-like roles. The goat comes in the forms of Christmas tree accessories and other ornaments. This unique Christmas tradition has its root from ancient belief related to the worship of Thor, the thunder god that is often depicted riding on a sled pulled by goats.
Caganer, the Naughty Decoration
You would not want to put this decoration in your family’s Nativity Scene decoration. Caganer is a popular decoration for Nativity Scene in various Mediterranean countries, which is depicted as a man pulling down his pants on the corner and defecating. This act is described as ‘earth fertilizing,’ and this decoration is popular as Christmas souvenir. This unique Christmas tradition always becomes a good source of laughter for kids.
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