We know our own Christmas traditions and each family have their own too but how about the rest of the World. Here are our favourite 5 ….
Number 5 – Japan
In Japan Christmas is seen more as a time to spread happiness than a religious celebration and Christmas Day is not a national holiday. Christmas Eve is often celebrated by couples who exchange romantic presents. However to us the most bizzare thing about Christmas day in Japan is that the most popular meal is KFC! An estimated 3.6 million families go to KFC for their Christmas lunch, in fact it is so busy people order their meals up to 6 weeks in advance and wait in line on Christmas Day for hours. Give me Turkey in my dining room any day!
Number 4 – Venezuela
What could be more fun than roller skating to mass through the streets on Christmas Day like the locals of the capital Caracas who take to the streets and glide to Mass.
As legend has it, children go to bed with a piece of string tied round their toe and the other end dangling out of the window. As skaters roll past, they give the string a tug and children know that it’s time to, well, get their skates on. Venezuelans are known for their love of fireworks and Christmas is no exception – residents awake to the sound of firecrackers exploding in the street, adding to the peel of church bells and get on their way. When mass is finished, families convene in the street and each others’ houses to share food, play music and dance. Sounds fabulous doesn’t it.
Number 3 – Spain
Although some Spanish families exchange gifts on Christmas Day the main day for giving gifts is January 6th and Spanish children will tell you that the 3 Kings give gifts not Santa Claus. On 26th December the children write notes to tell the Kings what they want and then on January 5th they leave food for the Kings and water for the camels or donkeys they ride on.
Before they go to bed they leave their shoes either under the tree or on the window sill – if they have been good their presents will be in their shoes and if not it will be coal!! I don’t think much coal will be found do you?
Number 2 – Austria
We don’t particularly like this Christmas tradition but it is certainly one to talk about! On December 5th in Austria is it the Krampus. Legend says Krampus is the evil twin of Santa and when good children get presents from Santa those who have been naughty will be scared by Krampus. Krampus’s appearance includes a goats beard, horns an oxen tail and the devils face.
On 5th December young men dress as Krampus and look for naughty children, there are processions called Percehntenlaufe and very scary but quite spectacular. Can’t image many children are naughty at Christmas in Austria!
Number 1 – Iceland
Our favourite tradition of all – the Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve. Imagine wrapping up warm and cosy getting your books out and drinking hot chocolate what a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve as a family.
This tradition is known as Jolabokaflod translated roughly as ‘Christmas Book Flood’. It started in World War 2 when one of the few things not rationed was paper, people gave books as other commodities were scarce and so it continues. We are definitely taking this tradition on in our house.
Please share any Christmas Traditions you like with us .
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