The Strangest Christmas Traditions From Around the World…


(Originally posted December 2013 - but so much fun, we're posting it again!) Originally authored by Jackson Middleton

Some of these traditions are just completely bonkers... I don't think you can just make this stuff up!

Heading into the holiday season, cultures and countries all over the world are celebrating their own version of the holidays. Sometimes the traditions involved can get a little weird to say the very least.

Angela West and I put together the following list in case you wanted to get cultural this Christmas and incorporate some crazy into your own family traditions!

KFC Replaces Turkey in Japan

KFC in Japan

In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken starts taking orders in October to avoid lineups at its locations on Christmas. KFC is, needless to say, pretty happy about this development and offers a Christmas special meal with a cake. The reason? All of the Norman Rockwell Christmas imagery features roasted bird as the chomp of choice at Christmas, but turkeys and chickens aren’t exactly a staple in Japan.

Are Spider Webs Christmas Decorations?

They are if you are in the Ukraine! Instead of tinsel, if you’re visiting a Ukrainian home over the Christmas season, you will most likely see spider webs on their tree. There isn’t a magic spider who makes glittery webs living in their tree stand. There is a Ukrainian folk myth about a poor widow who didn’t have the money to decorate her family’s Christmas tree. As they slept on Christmas Eve, a spider spun cobwebs on the tree, and when the first light of Christmas morning hit the webs they turned to gold and silver, making the family prosperous.

The Spanish Pooping Log

Spanish pooping log

At first glance, this looks like an Internet meme. But it’s a real thing. The Caga Tio is a hollowed out log that is placed into the fireplace on Christmas and ordered to poop out treats to the strains (heh) of the following song:

Poop log,
Poop nougats (turrón),
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don't poop well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
Poop log!

Okay... so you are telling me that kids hit a flaming log with a stick until it poops out Christmas presents? 2 words. Messed. Up.

Venezuelans Roller Skate to Church on Christmas


On a side note, I had a hard time finding a good picture of Roller Skates, I almost included a picture of Dog the Bounty Hunter instead.

Getting to midnight mass usually means cramming your family into the car after everyone’s had a little too much hot chocolate and wending your way through the church parking lot looking for a spot. But if you’re in Venezuela, you strap on your favorite pair of roller skates or blades and burn some of that holiday food off on your way to an early morning Christmas church service between December 16 and 24. Obviously a little impractical in the Canadian winter, but can we talk about that early morning service instead of that late night one? Anyone?

A Witch Delivers Presents in Italy

La Befana’s house was apparently the spot that the Three Wise Men stayed at when they were on their pilgrimage to Bethlehem. They asked her if she wanted to come along to see baby Jesus and she said no, having too much housework to do. She changed her mind and apparently she’s been looking for the baby Jesus ever since, as the Three Wise Men didn’t tell her where to find them. Oh, the things Google Maps could have solved back in the day.

She leaves candy and presents for kids who are good, and coal, onions and garlic for kids who are bad. While she is presented in the tales as a housekeeper, she is now portrayed as a witch riding around on a broom.

Gonna throw out an honorable mention to the Yule Cat of Iceland that eats kids who don't have new clothes to wear!

Got a wacky holiday tradition of your own? Wanna make one up and pass it off as real? Go ahead and leave it in our comments section!

President of First Foundation Residential Mortgages and First Foundation Insurance. Live in Edmonton but cheer for the Riders. I have lots of kids. Follow me on Twitter @gordmccallum

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