Unusual Christmas Traditions Around the World
Christmas traditions around the world are as different and unique as the country in which they are celebrated. While we may not understand all of these traditions, they are fun and interesting to learn about. Learn some of the Christmas traditions from around the world — You may find some you want to adopt…or maybe not.
Instead of getting Christmas candy, chocolates, and pies, Greenlanders have a tradition of kiviak. Never heard of it? To make this special treat, take the flesh of an auk (a bird), wrap it in sealskin and place it under a rock until it decomposes. The treat, reportedly, has a strong odor and tastes similar to blue cheese. Don’t think so.
The Christmas celebration starts off with a big Christmas morning meal. This in itself isn’t unusual, but the unusual part comes into play when they set a place for the dead and offer them food. Maybe not.
Kids and the parents tap into the fun side of Christmas with this tradition. The second Sunday before Christmas, the children sneak up on their mom and tie her feet to a chair. They yell, ‘Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day, what will you pay to get away?’ The mother then gives them each a gift. This repeats the next Sunday with the dad and he too gives them gifts. There’s no day set aside to tie the children up. Hmmmmmm…..possibilities.
The idea of a good Christmas tradition to some of the good people in Wales is dressing up in a horsehair sheet, putting a horse skull on a stick and parading around in the street nipping people on the head with the skill. The people nipped must pay a cash fine. Sounds like a good way to get in trouble.
An old Irish tradition that wouldn’t fly too well here in America is that of whitewashing the entire farm — inside and out. The women would scrub all of the walls and the men would follow behind whitewashing. The Irish thought this purified the farm for the coming of the Christ child. A nice Christmas Eve service sounds more appealing to me.
A Christmas tradition your children will definitely not want you to start is one that is held by northern France. On the night of December 5th, children are visited by two Santas — Pere Noel and Pere Fouettard. Pere Noel rewards the kids with gifts given on the 6th – St. Nicholas Day, but Pere Fouettard (Father Spanker) gives the bad children a spanking.
The Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve where everyone gathers at 5:00pm at the cemetery to pay a visit to his or her deceased loved ones. The visitors place candles on the graves and a service takes place. While this may not seem like a very happy way to start Christmas, later on, Father Christmas visits the homes, asks the children if they’ve been good and gives gifts.
In the Netherlands, children receive gifts December 5th but Christmas is celebrated on December 6th. On the 6th of December, Sinterklaas and his sidekick, Black Pete, arrive by steamer. They leave nuts and candy for the children who have been good and have left hay and sugar in their shoes for Sinterklaas’ horses.
Yes, Christmas traditions around the world are a bit different from those celebrated in the United States. Of course, that doesn’t make them wrong… just different. This holiday season; celebrate in a way that makes your family happy and creates memories and maybe… just maybe you might want to add one of these Christmas traditions from around the world.