This year Christmas time is going to be very unique with everything going on in the world and a lot of people may be celebrating the holidays a little bit differently.
So why not try something new and exciting and include a fresh addition to your regular Christmas traditions?
Let’s find out some of the interesting ways of how Christmas is celebrated in other cultures and maybe there is something you could try out as well.
1. Finland’s special way of finding luck
Christmas is a big thing in Finland – and how could it not be when they proudly describe the north part of the country (Lapland) as the home of Santa or ‘Joulupukki’ in Finnish. If you’ve been good, then Joulupukki will bring you presents, but if not then a bag of coal will likely be waiting for you under the tree. The Finns don’t have a fancy Christmas dessert – the most traditional last course for their Christmas meal is rice pudding or porridge. But what makes it special, is that they put a single almond in the whole pot of dessert and whoever finds it in their bowl will have good luck for the next year.
2. In Venezuela people glide to the church
Going to the church on Christmas morning is quite usual, however using your roller skates to do it is pretty exceptional. In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, they close roads just so that families can safely skate together and have fun. Because it’s so warm during Christmas time, roller skates are an alternative to usual winter activities like ice skating, skiing and sledging in colder climates. After church they head home for an interesting and delicious Christmas meal called ‘tamales’ that is a traditional Mexican dish made with a corn based dough mixture, filled with various meats or beans and cheese and wrapped and cooked in corn husks or banana leaves.
3. In Switzerland Santa is not the only one bringing presents
In Switzerland, Santa or ‘Samichlaus’ has a spooky companion called ‘Schmutzli’. Similar to Krampus, Schmutzli is the opposite of Santa with his dark and ominous appearance. He was originally used to warn children not to be naughty, however nowadays he’s more like Santa’s little helper, accompanying and assisting him to give out presents and treats. The pair show up on St Nicholas Day on December 6, but some children may be lucky enough to also get presents on Christmas Day (December 25) from baby Jesus and also on Epiphany (January 6) from Three Kings or ‘Befana’.
4. You will not believe what is the most popular Christmas dinner in Japan
Every country has its traditional foods that are a necessity on the dinner table. Japan has a very peculiar cuisine so you’d think that they must eat something very special on Christmas. Strangely enough, the most popular Christmas feast in Japan is a takeaway from Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is now so common that families need to order their KFC Christmas dinners weeks in advance. The phenomenon began in the 1970s, when the marketing team released an ad that offered a Party Barrell and had a catchphrase “Kentucky for Christmas!”. So if you don’t feel like cooking a multiple course meal for Christmas, why not do it like they do in Japan?
5. In Norway you can expect witches to fly around during Christmas
For some reason, Norwegians believe that evil spirits, witches and other wicked creatures come out during Christmas and roam around the cities. That is why they make sure to hide all their brooms and all other cleaning tools that are attached to sticks, so that the witches don’t come after them on Christmas Eve. December is the darkest time of the year in Norway so that is probably why the tradition has incurred. If you’re as superstitious as Norwegians, then you might take their advice.