19 December 2017
Every family has their own unique Christmas traditions. Whether it’s carol singing, opening one present on Christmas Eve or taking a picture by the Christmas tree each year, these traditions live on for generation to generation, and it just doesn’t feel quite like Christmas if they don’t happen.
When it comes to Christmas traditions, these can vary quite significantly from country to country.
In England we are used to leaving a mince pie and an alcoholic drink out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. Whereas, in Scandinavia a gnome like character - called Tomte in Sweden and Nisse in Norway - is believed to protect barns and brings presents too. Every Christmas the children leave a bowl of porridge out for him…good to keep his spirits high.
The idea of bringing a tree into our house seems the norm now come December, however in India instead of our traditional fir trees, mango or banana trees are often decorated instead.
In the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, roads are closed to traffic, to allow locals to roller-skate to morning mass. On their way, skaters will tug on string dangled out of the window to wake locals if they oversleep.
Iceland don’t just settle for one Santa, they have 13 Santas. Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. Every night one Yuletide lad visits, leaving sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on the child's behaviour.
In Japan, every Christmas season around 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to fried chicken from KFC, in what has become a nationwide tradition. For those who take part in this uncommon festive feast, it’s not as simple as walking in and ordering. December is a busy month for KFC in Japan, with daily sales rocketing to 10 times their usual take. Getting the KFC special Christmas dinner often requires ordering it weeks in advance.
So there we have it, it doesn’t matter how you celebrate, if it’s festive trolls delivering rotting potatoes or decorating mango trees as long as it brings the family together, it’s Christmas!