Family, presents and food, these are some of the things that spring to mind during the Christmas season, but what about our weird and wonderful traditions?
To us pulling crackers and sticking an angel on top of a tree, alongside throwing some tinsel on it seems like the norm; but to others around the globe it may appear a little odd.
But what about Christmas traditions in other countries, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite, and slightly odd, traditions from around the world.
- Mexico – Smashing plates
In Oaxaca, Mexico, they have their own great way of kick-starting Christmas with a bang – or a smash.
Beginning with a lantern lit parade through the streets, the residents of Oaxaca knock on every door they pass, re-creating Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Once this is finished, and everyone is present, the residents gather at the cathedral, where they proceed to break ceramic plates representing the year’s end.
- Australia – Surfing Santa
With most people associating Christmas with snow, log fires and mulled wine, Australia must seem a little strange; after all, the concept of sun during summer here is a novelty. So with temperatures being 20°C or more during the festive period, Australians have learnt to put their own spin on Mr Claus.
This has included carol sessions in the city, and Santa pulling up on a surfboard rather than a sleigh; because let’s face it even Santa wants to catch a wave.
- New York – SantaCon
Americans always like to go all out at the holidays, and just like Halloween, they go pretty wild at Christmas too. Over in New York, they go that little extra mile with SantaCon, which sees a huge gathering of New Yorkers dressed head to toe in Christmas outfits. Everything from Rudolph to elves and Santa himself are viable options. So grab yourself an elf costume and spread some Christmas joy through the streets of NYC.
- Venezuela – Skate to church
Between the 16th and 24th of December it has become customary for residents living in Caracas, Venezuela, to attend Misa de Aguinaldo, or early morning mass.
Although there’s nothing unusual with this, what is different in Caracas compared to other places is the closure of the roads. Before 8am the busy city streets are closed to any traffic, which makes room for people to skate to mass – which is a pretty great way to get to church.
- Austria – Krampus
Although famed for their Christmas markets, Austrians like to inject a little fear into their Christmas too.
Krampus, a devil-demon creature or evil Santa, is well known in this part of the world. Therefore a number of young people take it upon themselves to dress as the sinister being, going around equipped with cowbells and rods putting some Christmas fear into adults and children alike. Tis’ the season after all – apparently.
- Japan – A bucket of chicken
So Christmas may not be a national holiday in Japan like it is here, but that doesn’t stop the locals getting involved in their own special way.
How do they do this? With a bucket of chicken. Through the powers of marketing and advertising, KFC has become the meal to have for many Japanese people come the big day. You also get a delicious cake at the end – it is finger licking good after all.
- Catalonia – The Pooper
Finally, this one just seems completely strange, but it’s a tradition none the less. In Catalonia you won’t just find a star or angel amongst your Christmas decorations. You’ll also find El Caganer.
Also known as ‘The Pooper’ you can guess what this addition to the traditional nativity scene is all about – it’s a character, that comes in various shapes from a shepherd to Darth Vader who just so happen be taking a poo– a little weird you may think, but it adds a fun and unusual twist to Christmas, guaranteed to get a few laughs from everyone, young and old.