There are many different factors that contribute to the festive season: tucking into Christmas dinner, hanging up stockings, opening presents under the Christmas tree, and having a great time with family and friends.
At least, that’s what the common notion of Christmas is to most of us, but in some parts of the world, you may find strange and bizarre traditions…
Toss Your Shoes and Get Hitched [Czech Republic, Slovakia]
Don’t fancy spending another Christmas single? Try this: stand with your back to the door and throw a shoe over your shoulders on Christmas day. If the shoe lands with the toe pointing to the door, congrats, you’re going to get married soon. There’s no guarantee how soon though…
In Japan, Christmas equals KFC
Yes, really… After a Christmas marketing campaign four decades ago, KFC has been associated with Christmas in the minds of the Japanese for generations. More than 240,000 barrels of chicken will be sold during Christmas, up to ten times its normal monthly sales.
Another Christmas food associated with Japan is their Christmas cake. The sponge cakes with whipped cream, chocolate and strawberries on top are ordered months in advanced and are eaten on Christmas Eve. Any cake that is not sold after the 25th is unwanted. For the same reason, single Japanese women over the age of 25 used to be called Christmas Cakes (wow).
Long live the Goat [Sweden]
In 1966 a 13-metre tall goat figure made of straw was erected in the town square of Gavle. At the stroke of midnight, Christmas Eve, the goat went up in flames. But the town never stopped building it year after year, and vandals never stopped trying to burn the goat down! The burning of the Gavle goat happened so often that bookmakers began taking bets for the survival of the goat since 1988.
Just to be clear, the town doesn’t actually want the goat to be burned down. In 2001, an American tourist served time in jail and was fined for successfully doing so.
Instead of glittering ornaments and tinsel, Ukrainian Christmas trees are covered with artificial spiders and cobwebs. Why you ask? According to the local folklore, there was a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her Christmas tree. But one morning, her children woke up to see the tree covered with webs and when the first light of Christmas morning touched the web threads, they turned into gold and silver and the family was never left for wanting again. So, it is now believed that seeing a spider web on Christmas morning brings luck.
Each to their own! Do you have any weird and wonderful Christmas traditions?