3 years, 11 months ago
If you think some of your own Christmas traditions are quaint, check out what they get up to in other countries to celebrate the season of goodwill to all men.
1. Norwegian Prize Pig
Norwegian Christmas dinner is filled with traditions and families pick and choose the ones they like. But everyone, without exception, includes Rommegrot somewhere in the meal. This Christmas rice pudding always has a single almond baked into it and whoever gets the almond wins a marzipan piglet.
2. Christmas Log Love
No Catalan forgets to bring home a log on December 8th. It’s the Tio de Nadal and children have to love it, feed it and keep it cosy under a blanket until December 24th. Then, on Christmas Eve, they beat the living daylights out of it with a stick to make it ‘poo’ presents.
3. Sinister Santa Snaps
Live near Scottsdale, Arizona? Make your Christmas one to remember with a charming portrait of you, your children, Santa and his AK47s. Yes, Scottsdale Gun Club have been upholding this wholly questionable tradition for decades now. And if you’re speechless at the thought, that’s as it should be.
4. Crunchy Christmas Caterpillars
Nothing as safe as smoked salmon for starters in South Africa. December’s when impressive Emperor Moth Caterpillars are at their finest and juiciest so what better time to put them on the menu than Christmas Day. This ‘delicacy’ is served as an appetiser, lightly fried for a crispy, crunch.
5. Ravishing Christmas Radishes
The humble radish is king of Christmas in the Mexican town of Oaxaca on 23rd and 24th December every year. Hundreds of delicate and fantastic radish carvings made by local artisans fill the central plaza and everyone celebrates El Festival de los Rabanos with two days of dancing, eating and drinking.
6. Nativity Newcomer
Don’t be surprised to see a squatting figure with lowered trousers in a Catalan Nativity. It’s the “Caganer” and yes, he’s doing the toilet. Some say he’s a nod to local humour. Others explain him as a down-to-earth symbol. Whatever he is, no Catalan Nativity is complete without his pooing presence.
7. Roll On Christmas Morning
It’s not ancient, it’s not traditional and it’s got nothing to do with the nativity but as cute customs go, roller-skating to church on Christmas Morning is right up there. Kudos to Caracas for making this such a big thing on December 25th, the centre of the Venezuelan capital is skater-only for hours.
8. Advent Arson
Gävle in Sweden erects an enormous straw Yule Goat in the town every year for Christmas. It takes two days to build. But it’s most famous for the number of times it’s been burned down. In 50 years, the goat’s only survived 10 arson attacks and, miraculously, only 5 arsonists have ever been caught.
9. Santa’s Evil Austrian Twin
No mollycoddling children in Austria at Christmas. Find yourself on Santa’s naughty list and his
demonic doppelganger, Krampus, will get you. Okay it’s only men, chasing kids around as part of December’s traditional Krampusnacht festivities. But they’re wearing satanic goat heads with fangs. Now you know why psychoanalysis was born in Vienna.
10. Kentucky Fried Christmas
Fast food at Christmas is tragic, right? Not in Japan apparently. Here, KFC Family Buckets are such a big deal on December 25th, Japanese queue for hours at KFCs to collect orders made months in advance. The chain celebrate this touching new tradition with the line “KFC = Christmas” – only in Japan, so far.