One of the most amazing things about traveling is that you get to experience cultures other than your own, and different ways of doing things are especially obvious during the holidays.
Here’s a look at 5 of the wackiest Christmas traditions from around the globe, plus how to enter today’s giveaway!
Just about everyone in the city roller skates to Mass on Christmas morning. Even before 8am, many roads are blocked off to vehicles in anticipation of the event. Some children tie a string to their big toe and let the other end dangle all the way down to the road below, so that it is within arm’s reach of those passing by. Roller skaters the next morning give a gentle tug on the string as they glide through the streets.
Thanks to a campaign started in 1974, KFC Christmas dinners are a big thing in Japan. In fact, reader Penguin tipped me off as to how huge by saying, “Families race to reserve dinner sets and roast chicken in advance. Christmas dinners are marketed as romantic occasions for lovers, and hotels compete to attract couples.” What great advertising, as it sounds like all of Japan has embraced KFC as “the” Christmas dinner provider!
Catalonia has to have some of the oddest Christmas traditions of anywhere in the world. A cute little hollow log is given stick legs, a red hat and a painted face. Starting in early December, children cover the log at night to keep it warm and “feed” it (imaginary food, I suppose). On Christmas Day, the special little log is placed in the fireplace and beat with sticks so that it will um. expel gifts. The name of the log? Caga Tia, pooping log.
There’s also the matter of the Caganer, a curious figure found in their nativity scenes that appears to be…doing the same thing as the log.
The last decoration to go on a Christmas tree in the Ukraine is…a fake spiderweb. According to legend, a family in poverty had no money for Christmas tree decorations. After they were fast asleep, spiders in the home decorated the tree with beautifully intricate webs. The family awoke in the morning to find the sun’s rays rising over the webbed branches which turned to silver and gold, leaving the family wanting for nothing. Nowadays, the people of Ukraine make sure to add a fake spider web or two to bring good luck to the coming year.
Do you have a wacky Christmas tradition or have you heard of one? To enter today’s contest for a box of goodies, leave a comment on this post about your wacky Christmas tradition (or one you’ve heard about) If you can’t think of anything, any comment will work. The contest ends at 9pm PST tonight, and you can click here for full contest details.