In case you didn’t know, it’s December! The time of year where we let our hair down, spend time with family and friends, and perhaps have a drink or two. The entire month is full of traditions; from Christmas stockings on the fireplace, to a fir tree covered in shiny baubles in the living room. In the spirit of traditions, I investigated the weird and wonderful from around the world, how much do the holiday traditions really vary?
1.Gävle Goat, Sweden
Since the ‘60s, a 13-metre Yule Goat has been built in Gävle Castle Square. Every year, people try to burn it down – It has been successfully burned down 29 times.
2. Krampus, Austria
In Austria, St. Nicholas rewards the good children whilst his evil sidekick, Krampus, roams the streets to punish the bad children and kidnap them for being naughty. How’s that for a deterrent for not doing your homework?
3. KFC, Japan
Yes, you read that right. In recent years, the go-to meal for the festive Japanese is nothing more than fried chicken and a pot of gravy. They even have a festive menu!
4. Hiding the brooms, Norway
A tradition that dates back hundreds of years, Norwegians hide their brooms. And no, not to get out of doing chores, the tradition started when people believed in witches and thought that on 24th December, witches would steal people’s brooms to ride on
5. Roller-blading to Church, Venezuela
Forget walking and say goodbye to taxis, in Venezuela the go-to mode of transport on 24th December is roller-blading! Only Venezuelans actually know why, but personally I don’t think they need an excuse. I mean, who wouldn’t want to roller-blade to Church?
6. Cake to the ceiling, Slovakia
Households in Slovakia traditionally have the oldest man in the house make a cake and then throw it at the ceiling. The tradition says the longer it stays stuck to the ceiling, the luckier the following year will be. I guess the person who has to clean it off may disagree.
7. Spider webs on Christmas trees, Ukraine
In Ukraine, people have Christmas trees, but decorate them with artificial spider webs. The tradition dates to an old tale of a poor family who had their tree decorated by a spider’s web. I think I’ll stick to my tinsel and baubles.
8. Decomposed bird, Greenland
One of the most obscure traditions I found is from Greenland. It’s not a roast turkey, or KFC for that matter – it’s Kiviak! Kiviak is a decomposed bird wrapped in sealskin which has been buried under a rock for months on end. To each their own, I think I’ll stick to the roast potatoes.
So, there you have it, some of the weird and wonderful traditions from around the world. What do you do throughout the holidays? Do you eat anything strange or throw things at your ceiling?
Happy holidays and we wish you a prosperous New Year!
From all at White Horse