Christmas traditions vary around the world, and it’s always interesting to see how different people from various countries celebrate the holiday.
Halloween? No, it’s Christmas in Austria.
While you may be acquainted with Santa Claus or Father Christmas, the children of Austria are more familiar with “Krampus”. He is a ghoulish creature and the evil accomplice of St, Nicholas, said to wander the streets in search of badly behaved children. During the entire December, masked figures roam around the streets scaring kids and adults alike with their pranks.
In Denmark, it’s tradition to light candles on their Christmas tree during Christmas Eve. Families then gather around and hold hands while singing Christmas carols.
Families decorate their houses with advent wreaths on Christmas Eve. They also attend Christmette, a church service where they gather together and sing Christmas carols.
Another tradition embraced by several families is to hide a pickle somewhere within the Christmas tree branches. The child who finds it gets a gift.
On the days leading up to December 25, Dutch children place their shoes by the fire, hoping that Sinterklaas (their version of Santa Claus) will leave small gifts and treats there. Before, naughty children would get a potato instead of a gift.
In Italy, instead of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, the children have an old woman named Belfana. She visits all the good children on the eve of January 5 (instead of December 25) and leaves them candy and presents.
Norwegians hide their brooms on Christmas Eve as they believe witches and evil spirits come out on that night.
Christmas Eve is a huge affair, with families gathering together in one big house. They have a feast called noche buena and distribute gifts. They also pop fireworks and firecrackers at midnight.
In Poland, you can’t have meat during Christmas dinner. They do have 12 different dishes to symbolize the 12 apostles.
In Russia, people don’t celebrate Christmas on December 25, like they do in most countries around the world. Instead, they celebrate Christmas on January 7. They hold a festive meal called Sochivo, made of wheat and honey.
Families gather together for a feast on Christmas Eve called noche buena. They also attend a midnight mass called Misa del Gallo.
In Venezuela, most people roller skate to church on Christmas morning as a nod to the country’s winterless climate. Over the years, more and more people have been doing it and entire roads have to be blocked off to ensure the skaters’ safety.
It’s fun to see the many different ways countries around the world celebrate Christmas. Some of them are pretty similar while others are vastly different. It’s interesting to see the traditions that have passed down through the years and have become what they are today. No matter where you are in the world, you can have fun celebrating Christmas in different ways.