There are many exciting and unique Christmas traditions all over the world. You probably already know that every country has its own way of celebrating Christmas. Travel the world with us and discover these traditions from different cultures and parts of the world.
Also read, Top 10 Interesting Facts About Christmas
Christmas Traditions In Italy
Along with the Christmas tree, the Italians set up the nativity scene. which was invented in Italy in the Middle Ages. Naples is famous for its Nativity scene called Presepe Napoletano.
In Italy, children not only believe in Santa Claus, but also in La Befana. Children in Italy receive gifts on the night between 5th and 6th January from a witch known as La Befana. It is believed that La Befana flies around on a broomstick. She brings candy to good children and charcoal to the bad ones. She puts these in a sock that is hung on the night before. In modern Italy, La Befana is known as the Christmas Witch.
Norway Christmas Traditions
Say hello to Nisse! Nisse is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore similar to a gnome. According to tradition, Nisse protects the house and the family and brings presents for the children. Norwegians leave a bowl of oatmeal for Nisse under the Christmas tree. If Nisse does not get his bowl of oatmeal, it will get naughty and break things in the house. On December 23 which is celebrated as Little Christmas Eve, Norwegian families decorate the tree together and make a sweet gingerbread house. The main celebrations are on Christmas eve, rather than December 25.
The Netherlands Christmas Traditions
Sinterklass (St. Nicholas) brings children presents in the Netherlands on 5th of December. Children usually leave a shoe out by the fireplace or window sill, filled with carrots for Sinterklass’s horse.
It is popularly believed that Sinterklass lives in Spain and every year arrives at a different harbour in the Netherlands. Children play treasure hunt games to follow the clues to find their presents.
Christmas Traditions In Greece
In addition to decorating the Christmas trees, the Greeks also decorate Christmas boats. Greece is a
country of sailors and in the olden times men were often sailing for several weeks in winter. When they returned home, small boats were decorated inside the house to honour their courage.
Iceland Christmas Traditions
Modern equivalent of Santa Claus in Iceland is known as the Yule Lads. In Iceland, Christmas is celebrated for 13 days and the celebrations start on December 12. Each night before Christmas, children are visited by 13 Yule Lads. Children leave their shoes under the window, hoping to receive sweets from 13 mischievous trolls called the Yule Lads. If they have been good, they will receive sweets but if they have been bad, the Yule Lads leave them a rotten potato.
Christmas Traditions In Japan
Even though Christmas is not a religious holiday in Japan, it is celebrated and gifts are exchanged.
The Japanese have found an interesting and innovative way to celebrate Christmas. Rather than gathering around the table for a turkey dinner, families head out to their local Kentucky Fried Chicken. The tradition originated in 1974 after a successful marketing campaign called “Kurisuma-su ni wa kentakkii!”, means Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas.
Germany And Austria Christmas Traditions
People in Germany and Austria celebrate St. Nikolaus Day on December 6. St. Nikolaus and his companion Krampus come and visit children to reward those who have been good and punish those who have misbehaved. On the previous evening, children put their polished shoes outside the front door and St. Nikolaus fills them with sweets, fruits, and small presents.
The main presents will be given to the children on Christmas eve. Traditionally, Christmas gifts are brought by the Christkind (child of Christ). Santa Claus also exists in Germany and is simply called the Christmas man (Weihnachtsmann).
Catalonia, Spain Christmas Traditions
Old Caga Tió or Tió de Nadal (Christmas log) is a cheerful character known for his generosity in offering gifts and treats to small chil-dren, despite their poor treatment of him.
Basically it is a small wooden log covered in a blanket with a warm smiley face. Caga Tió usually arrives at homes in early December and families take care of him until Christmas day, by feeding him dry bread, orange peel or dried beans. However, for Caga Tió to produce gifts, children are instructed to beat him with a wooden stick and sing to him, ordering him to poop presents.
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