December brings with it cold weather, ice skating, holiday decorations, and lots and lots of Christmas cheer. As Christmastime draws nearer and nearer, it would come as no surprise if you and your family are getting excited in anticipation of the big day. There may be cookies to bake, presents to buy, and other unique traditions that your family has that need to be prepared for. As you ready yourself for the holiday, why not take a virtual tour through some of the ways that Christmas is celebrated around the world? Here’s a quick glance at Christmas traditions in other countries.
In Germany, many celebrate a holiday before Christmas called Saint Nicholas’s Day on December 6. On Saint Nicholas’s Day, Nikolaus travels in the middle of the night and leaves candies, treats, and oranges in the shoes of all the good little boys and girls in Germany. He may also bring treats to good children while they are still in school. However, there are some consequences for those of them who are not so good. Sometimes Nikolaus brings along Farmhand Rupert, who has a whip or stick on hand to punish children on the “naughty list.”
Krampus in Austria
You may already be familiar with the creepy, horned demon called Krampus who is a customary figure of Christmas in Austria. Krampus roams the streets in Austria in December, seeking out good children to reward and naughty children to punish by stealing them away in his large sack of mischief. Typically, groups of men will dress up as the horned beasty Krampus and rattle chains and bells as they roam about, attempting to frighten children they encounter.
Kentucky Fried Chicken Dinners in Japan
Christmas is not a largely celebrated holiday in Japan, at least on the terms you may think of. In recent years, a much more interesting and quirky tradition has emerged. On Christmas night, families or groups of friends across Japan will gather for a dinner at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, you read that right. Japanese folks from all around will pre-order their KFC meals in advance or even wait in line for extended periods just to get a bucket of that sweet, breaded fried chicken.
A Celebration of Candles in Colombia
In Colombia, a tradition has emerged that has nothing to do with meals at all. Instead, in Colombia, Christmastime also entails something called Little Candles’ Day. On Little Candles’ Day, which ushers in the beginning of the Christmas season, Colombians place candles outside their homes, on balconies, and on windowsills. Some even construct little candle displays. The candles intend to honor the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception, which is, for many Christians, the reason for the season. In some neighborhoods and communities, neighbors compete against each other to create the grandest display of little candles and lanterns for the holiday.
Giant Yule Goat in Sweden
In some places around the world, the Christmas holiday brings out an entirely new and creative side of humanity. Something particularly, and wonderfully, bizarre is the Gävle Goat in Sweden. Though the Yule Goat is a Swedish tradition dating back to the days of pagan rituals, the Gävle Goat gives it new life in an incredibly quirky way. This Scandinavian goat isn’t one you’d find at a petting zoo, this Yule Goat is more than 42 feet high and weighs more than 3 tons. Plus, it’s made entirely of straw. The straw Gävle Goat is constructed in the same spot in Sweden every year, and interested parties can watch its construction on a livestream online. In recent years, some have made a tradition out of burning the straw goat down after the Christmas season is over. What a spectacle!
Plays and Parades in Mexico
Central in many country’s celebrations of Christmas are depictions or displays of the traditional nativity story, featuring the birth of baby Jesus. In Mexico, Christmastime also means it’s time to put on Pastorela’s, which means Shepherd’s Plays. These little Shepherd’s Plays are put on by members of the church and tell the traditional biblical Christmas story, while colorful Mexican parades called Posadas re-enact the journey of Mary and Joseph travelling to the inn to give birth to Jesus.
No matter where in the world you’re celebrating Christmas, you can always bring a little bit of Christmas cheer with keepsake ornaments and decorations from Santa’Ville. Personalized ornaments can help you spread the Christmas spirit and show off what the holidays mean to you!