Christmas traditions from around the world

imageRecently, while enjoying some delicious sugar free White Christmas, we got to talking about our family’s Christmas traditions.

We love to see streets of houses decorated with Christmas lights. We always sit down to a turkey lunch on Christmas day and we love taking our children to the city’s annual Christmas parade.

This got us thinking about other people’s festive traditions and the way that Christmas is celebrated by different cultures.

Here are a few of our favourite Christmas traditions from around the world.

In Ukraine …

Christmas trees are adorned with the usual baubles, lights and ornaments, but also have one not so common decoration: a hidden spider’s web that brings good fortune to whomever finds it. The legend goes that many years ago a poor family in the Ukraine had no decorations with which to adorn their Christmas tree. However, when the family awoke on Christmas morning, they found that a spider had woven a beautiful decorative web around the tree that was more stunning than any bauble.

In Japan …

Many families celebrate Christmas with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Some years ago KFC successfully launched a marketing campaign that created such an intrinsic link between Christmas and the fried treat that many families just can’t celebrate the holiday without it! In fact, it’s estimated that up to 240,000 buckets of KFC are sold during the festive period in Japan each year.

In Britain …

It is considered good luck when making Christmas pudding to have every member of the family stir the mixture in a clockwise direction and make a wish. Earlier traditions also include hiding a gold or silver coin in the Christmas pudding, which brings wealth and good luck to whomever finds it. Why not give one of these traditions a try with our gluten, grain and sugar free Christmas pudding?

In Germany and Bavaria …

On the day preceding the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6), many Alpine countries celebrate Krampusnacht, a holiday intertwined with the legend of Krampus. A large, terrifying, devil-like figure, Krampus is said to be a companion of Santa Claus and the creature who deals with naughty children. Legend says that Krampus visits the homes of misbehaved children to leave them a lump of coal instead of presents at Christmas time. However, if you’ve been especially naughty, Krampus might bundle you up in a sack and take you away to his lair.

In Norway …

After sunset on Christmas Eve, it is not unusual for a family to hide or lock away all the brooms in their house. This is because Christmas Eve is linked to the coming of witches and evil spirits – creatures who might use the brooms to make mischief.

In Greenland …

A traditional Christmas delicacy is ‘mattak’ (or ‘muktuk’ in Inuit/Eskimo cultures). This is raw whale skin and bubber, or reindeer meat, that has been wrapped in seal skin and buried for several months.

In Scandinavia …

A Yule Goat made of straw is often erected in a town square. The goat’s origins may go as far back as pre-Christian days when it was believed that the Norse God, Thor, road on a chariot pulled by two goats. Unfortunately, some pranksters think it funny to set these goats on fire during Christmas Eve – a gesture that can land the culprits jail time if they’re caught.

Do you have any interesting or unusual Christmas traditions to share? Let us know in the comments!

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