Unique Christmas Traditions in Various Countries

Posted on Dec 28 2013 - 2:06pm by Shem MD

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.

le befana

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.

Tio de Nadal

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.

Night Graveyard Visits

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.

The Scandinavian Yule Goat

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.


Shem MD
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Shem MD is a young doctor who really has a passion for travel and food. He started his hobby of writing about travel and food when he graduated from medical school and became the founder of Travelfore.com. Through a blog created by him, he aspires to gather stories from people all over the world about their experiences in travel and food. He also was a true lover of the art of magic, musical instruments, and mind-blowing movies. And most importantly he is a big fan of Liverpool Football Club. The words often out of him were "Nomad is my middle name !" Shem MD also get Internet Marketing Fundamentals Practitioner Certification, Social Media Practitioner Certification, Content Marketing Practitioner Certification, Display Advertising Practitioner Certification from Marketmotive.com and a member of OMCP Organization. Shem MD also get Hootsuite Certified Professional and a Hootsuite Media Inc. Community Ambassador for Asia Pacific (ID) (Volunteer) Passionate in Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing, and Social Media. Specialties: Entrepreneurship, Business Building, Creative Strategy, Social Media Strategist, Travel and Food Blogging, General Medical Practitioner, Skin Care Business, Magic Props, and Concept Consultant.