I don't know about you but I LOVE good tradition or 5 around Christmas time. For as long as I can remember my sister and I have taken great delight in waking the other up on Christmas morning and climbing into bed together to open our stocking presents, usually accompanied by my parents banging on the wall to tell us that 3am is not an acceptable time to be awake.
As kids, we used to open some presents in the morning then my dad would take us on a chilly walk to the local duck pond and we would feed the ducks while my mum slaved away in the kitchen making Christmas lunch.
Every year on Christmas Eve we have an enormous feast of food (really, it's quite excessive considering there is usually only the 4 of us!) and we watch The Muppets Christmas Carol.
Christmas is all about family and tradition. So it got me thinking about what other traditions are out there at Christmas time and after a bit of research I found that there really are some quite hilarious ones so I thought I would share them with you:
In Caracas, Venezuela, the children traditionally go to bed on Christmas Eve with a long piece of string tied around their big toe and the other end hanging out their bedroom window. The next morning people will roller skate to church for the 8am service and customarily tug on the loose pieces of string still hanging out the windows to wake those still snoozing away on Christmas morning!
In Japan, the feast of choice on Christmas Day is not Turkey or even Ham, it's KFC! The Japanese will queue for hours to get their Christmas bucket! Yep, nothing says Christmas quite like the Colonel's secret recipe...
In Slovakia it is tradition on Christmas Day to stand in your doorway and throw a shoe over your shoulder! If the show lands with the toe pointing towards the door you are soon going to be married! If not, well, better luck next year I guess!
This one is cute: In Finland, Christmas also serves as a time of rememberance for lost loved ones. Traditionally families will visit the graves of their ancestors and light a candle for them. Those who live far away from their loved ones grave sites can light candles in a different graveyard in their memory. Cemetaries in Finland are completely lit up with candles on Christmas Eve, creating a beautiful sight.
Ukranians choose to decorate their trees with a spookier element! Spider webs replace tinsel based on an old myth stating that a young mother was too poor to decorate their tree but when the children came downstairs on Christmas morning the tree was covered in spiders webs which turned into dazzling shades of red and gold in the morning sunlight and the family lived happily ever after! It is now believed that seeing a spiders web on Christmas morning will bring good luck.
Austria doesn't quite get the "joyful" and "magical" part of Christmas I don't think...While British children are warned that Santa will bring them lumps of coal if their name is on the naughty list, Austrian children live in fear of the Christmas Devil, Krampus, who is said to beat naughty children with tree branches. Coal looks pretty good right about now.
In Norway cleaning on Christmas Eve is forbidden (I could get used to that tradition...) and all the brooms are safely hidden away to stop them from being stolen by witches and evil spirits. Obviously.
8) South Africa
South Africans have an even more concerning festive feast than the Japanese! On Christmas Day the locals will happily tuck in to the deep fried caterpillars of what would be an Emperor Moth. Yeah...think I'm gonna stick with turkey thanks!
Iceland is a beautiful country but has some rather morbid Christmas traditions! Icelanders believe that the Yule Cat prowls in the Icelandic Hills and anyone who has not received new clothes by Christmas Eve will be devoured by the beast.
Rather than waiting on gifts from jolly old Saint Nick, Italian children, instead, await a visit from Befana, a friendly witch who delivers sweets and toys in January 5th.
Guatemalans have a different opinion to the Norwegians when it comes to Christmas cleaning. The locals here will clean out their houses before Christmas and then each neighbourhood will combine their piles of dirt to make an huge pile of dirt. A large effigy of the Devil is then placed on top of the pilr and burned.
In Greece it is believed that there is an army of rogue goblins, known as the Kallikantzaroi, who surface during the 12 days of Christmas and wreak havoc across the country.