I love Christmas – and I love learning about Christmas traditions from different families and cultures. For a bit of pre-Christmas fun, I thought I’d share 10 Unique Christmas Traditions you have probably never heard of before.
If you were celebrating Christmas in Japan, you might be surprised to find a different sort of meal at the table. A traditionally Christmas Dinner in Japan is KFC’s special Christmas box. It’s so popular that KFC take reservations for the boxes – and reservations for some stores can sell out as early as October!
2. South Africa
Speaking of interesting Christmas Feasts, if you were in South Africa – you may also find yourself surprised at what delicacies were laid out on the Christmas dinner table.
A traditional South African Christmas treat is the deep fried Mopane Worms – the caterpillars of the Emperor Moth. I won't share the photo for that one ;)
As a child, I was always worried that I might find coal in my stocking – but in Austria, children have something even scarier to be worried about; Krampus. Krampus is the Christmas Devil who is said to beat naughty children with branches. He is a half-goat half-demon who often appears in traditional parades and events at Christmas time to make sure children are on their best behaviour.
Christmas Masses are common around the world – but it’s how the Venezuelans get there that’s different! It’s become a tradition for residents to lace up their roller-skates and skate to Christmas Mass services!
It’s also not uncommon to hear fireworks and bells ringing on Christmas morning as worshippers are encouraged to get up and out of bed for mass.
Christmas trees are adorned with all kinds of ornaments – but food isn’t usually one of them. In Germany, however, it’s a tradition to hide a pickle in the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to discover the hidden pickle on Christmas morning gets an extra gift!
German children also start receiving gifts earlier than most. On the night of December 5th, German children leave shoes outside of their doors in preparation for Saint Nicholas’s visit. In the morning, children wake to find their shoes filled with gifts and sweets – or if they’ve been naughty, they may wake to find coal or sticks instead.
Want to recreate the tradition at home? Here are some pickle ornaments I've found.
Click to shop/find out more!
In the Ukraine, Christmas trees tend to look a little more… natural.
Whilst baubles and tinsels are still found here and there, trees are commonly adorned with fake spiders and webs. This all stems from the Legend of the Christmas Spider – an Eastern European Folktale which explains the origin of the tinsel on Christmas trees.
Christmas is a time for family – and in Estonia, most families celebrate Christmas Eve by taking a trip to the sauna together.
A traditional Swedish Christmas dessert is Rice Pudding. Similar to the coins hidden inside Christmas pudding, each year a peeled almond is hidden in rice pudding for one lucky guest to find. What does finding the almond mean? That the finder will be married within a year!
In Italy, children are anxious not for the arrival of Santa Claus – but for Befana. A friendly witch who delivers sweets and toys on the 5th of January to good girls and boys.
On Christmas Day, Italian boys and girls may also receive some small presents from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) but Epiphany Night
In Slovakia, Christmas is a little bit messier than most. It’s tradition that the oldest male of the house takes a spoonful of the traditional Loksa pudding and throws it at the ceiling. The stickier it is, the more luck the family will have!