Raphia Explores Quirky Christmas Traditions
Exploring the World’s 10 Quirkiest Christmas Traditions
Canadian’s recognise Santa’s postcode. Germans hide a pickle. Guatemalans burn the devil. South-Africans enjoy a Bushtucker trial. We uncover wonderfully quirky Christmas traditions from around the world…
1.Write to Santa Claus | Canada
In Canada, the postal service genuinely recognise Santa’s address: Santa Claus, The North Pole, Canada, HOHOHO.
Letters will be received and answered by Santa’s helpers. If you’re late this year, save for Christmas 2023.
2. Hiding the pickle | Germany
A Christmas Eve tradition in Germany is to hide an ornamental pickle in the branches of the family Christmas tree. On Christmas Day, the child who discovers it first receives a surprise gift from Santa. The first adult to discover the pickle is blessed with luck for the coming year.
3. Memorable Christmas tasting | Greenland
Each Christmas Greenlanders tuck into a ‘delicious' feast of Mattak—raw whale skin with a side of blubber. And Kiviak which is made by wrapping an Auk (a small arctic bird) in seal skin then burying it for several months ready to eat its decomposed flesh. Remember this when you are complaining about granny’s Brussel sprouts.
4. Christmas spruce-up | Guatemala
Guatemalans spend the week before Christmas cleansing their environment. They sweep, collect rubbish and pile everything outside their home. Then an effigy of the devil is placed on top and they light the fire. It’s named La Quema del Diablo, ’The Burning of the Devil’. Burning the bad from the previous year to begin a new year from the ashes.
5. La Befana, the old witch | Italy
Kids in Italy have their presents delivered by an old witch called La Befana. The story goes that the three wise men invited the witch to accompany them to see baby Jesus. She said she was too busy and the legend was born—with full support of the Vatican who could not conclusively prove the existence of Santa!
Also Read- A Deliciously Magical Woodland Christmas
6. Roller skating to church | Venezuela
During the week leading up to Christmas, Venezuelans attend a daily Early Morning Mass called Misa de Aguinaldo. In the capital, Caracas, people travel to the service on roller skates. The custom is so widespread that many roads are closed until 8am to ensure Christmas worshippers arrive safely.
7. KFC for Christmas dinner | Japan
For many Japanese a traditional Christmas dinner is KFC. A combination of tiny Japanese ovens and a canny marketing campaign convinced locals that Americans eat fried chicken for their Yuletide feast. Demand is so high that reservations have to be made to eat at a KFC on Christmas Day.
8. Walking around the Christmas tree | Denmark
Danish Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. After dinner family and friends join hands, sing Christmas hymns and walk briskly around the tree. This is to give Santa Claus time to deliver his gifts. The adrenaline boosting twist is that the tree is dotted with precariously perched candles which are alight.
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9. Carving radishes | Mexico
Noche de Rábanos (The Night of the Radishes) is held annually on 23 December in the city of Oaxaca. Artisans and amateurs compete to create the most striking carved radish. Popular carving motifs include the nativity scene, Mayan imagery and local wildlife such as snakes and alligators. The event attracts thousands of visitors with queues stretching miles to view the carvings.