How Does The Rest Of The World Celebrate? Some Strange Christmas Traditions

Different countries have different cultural Christmas traditions. Some look fun, others are weird, take a look at some of the world’s strangest Christmas traditions:

Portugal: Just because you’re dead, doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a Christmas feast!

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On the morning of Christmas day, people in Portugal have a traditional feast called¬† ‘consoda’ with a twist; not only does the family get together to eat but also dead people are invited. Extra places are set and food is offered to the deceased.

Austria: Who’s scared of the Krampus?

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December is supposed to be a time to be jolly, get into the festive mood and be around your family. In parts of Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland, the last month of the year is also a time, especially for naughty kids, to be scared! Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus, a devil-demon creature equipped with cow bells and rods, usually accompanied by the Nikolaus (a sort of Santa Clause) and roam the streets to frighten children as well as adults. This is called a Krampuslauf.

See them in action:

Krampuslauf in Bad St Leonhard and Schladming, Austria


Caracas: Put your blades on!
In Venezuela’s capital city, it is customary for the streets to be blocked
off on Christmas Eve in order for people to rollerblade to church!

Yugoslavia: Brats are in control


On the 2nd Sunday before Christmas, children creep in and tie their mother’s feet to a chair, shouting ‘Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day, what will you pay to get away?’

She thengives them presents. Children play the same trick on their father the following week and get more presents.

Japan: Red=dead on Christmas

Sending red Christmas cards to anyone in Japan constitutes bad
etiquette, since funeral notices there are customarily printed in red.

Greenland: Eating rotten auk

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(photos: kiviak.com)

Kiviak is a gastronomical Christmas treat from Greenland which, for some reason, hasn’t been adopted by many other nations. It’s made from the raw flesh of an auk which has been buried under a stone in sealskin for several months until it’s achieved an advanced stage of decomposition. Apparently, it smells like old blue cheese and tastes very pungent.

England: I’d prefer the pig’s head over auk

In early England, the traditional Christmas dinner consisted of a head of a pig with mustard.

Wales: Putting the bite on

Mari Tour Llantrisant 2006 Group

(photo: folkwales.org.uk)

Ever wondered where the phrase ‘putting the bite on’ comes from? At Christmastime, in some rural areas of south Wales, the Mari Llwyd is a person hiding under a horsehair sheet (a brethyn rhawn) whilst carrying a horse’s skull on a pike .

The Mari Llwyd wanders the streets with a band of mummers and anyone ‘given the bite’ by the horse’s jaws must pay a cash fine.

Norway: Witchy ways

on Christmas Eve, all the brooms in the house are hidden because long ago it was believed that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for riding.

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