December 29, 2018

Unique Christmas Traditions Around the World

Unique Chstmas Traditions - Image by © 2018 Daria Perse

Unique Christmas traditions from all around the world are very entertaining to learn about. Since Christmas is celebrated not only By Christians and Catholics, people in different regions invented countless distinct ways to celebrate. Some are funny - and others original.

Most everyone knows that each one of us is noteworthy. Hence, many of us are bound to start our own traditions. The kind that will make our heart sing. Unequaled and fun, for everyone to enjoy.

I hope some of the examples below will spark an idea, worth making it your own. Adjust them to your own ways and circumstances. And if you're a new family, here's your chance to make your Christmas season magical and distinctive - unlike anyone else's. Enjoy! 🙂

Christmas Season Family Traditions 

Germany, Austria and Slovenia: Nikolaus & Krampus

Miklavževanje 2018 v Celju

St. Nicholas in Celje, Slovenia / Miklavževanje 2018 v Celju / Source

"On the night of December 5 (in some places, the evening of Dec. 6), in small communities in Austria and the Catholic regions of Germany, a man dressed as der Heilige Nikolaus (St. Nicholas, who resembles a bishop and carries a staff) goes from house to house to bring small gifts to the children. Accompanying him are several ragged looking, devil-like Krampusse, who mildly or nor so mildly scare the children. Although Krampus/Knecht Ruprecht carries eine Rute (a switch), he usually only teases the children with it, while St. Nicholas hands out small gifts. In some regions, there are other names for both Nikolaus and Krampus (Knecht Ruprecht in northern Germany).

As early as 1555, St. Nicholas brought gifts on Dec. 6, the only “Christmas” gift-giving time during the Middle Ages, and his companion, Knecht Ruprecht or Krampus, was a more ominous figure. In Alpine Europe Krampus is still a scary, devil-like figure."

Festivities and gift giving traditions are very similar in Slovenia, where St. Nicholas/Der Heilige Nikolaus is called Sveti Miklavž, who is always accompanied by at least a couple of devils - and recently, some angels.

St. Nicholas / Sveti Miklavž

St. Nicholas / Sveti Miklavž brings gifts to well behaved children - Source

Colombia: Day of the Little Candles

Día de las velitas, Colombia

Día de las velitas / Day of the Little Candles celebration and public holiday, Colombia - Source

"In Colombia, the Day of the Little Candles (Día de las velitas) is a traditional Christmas holiday celebrated each year on December 7th and is the unofficial kick-off to the Colombian Christmas season. On that evening everyone will place paper lanterns and candles on their windowsills, porches, balconies, streets, and in the town squares. Magical flames are everywhere you turn. The lights are placed to honor Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception.

The next morning, tradition has everyone raising white flags with the Virgin Mary’s image which are flown all day. When the sun sets, village landmarks and tombs in cemeteries are illuminated to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and to offer a grand welcome to the holiday season."

Funny Family Christmas traditions

Japan: KFC Christmas

Christmas in Japan

These days, Japanese people could end up waiting in long lines if they don't pre-order their Christmas meals from KFC. Source

"Even though Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, it is still a huge day to celebrate, not with a Christmas goose, but with a bucket of KFC. In Japan, December 25th is seen as a day of happiness and romance and many couples celebrate like it’s Valentine's Day. This unique tradition started in the 1970s when some foreigners ended up at a KFC in Tokyo on Christmas Day when they realized that it was impossible to find a turkey in Japan.

KFC took note and started a Christmas Chicken campaign—the rest is history. Today, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC during the Christmas season, standing in line for hours to get their bucket of chicken—complete with wine, cake and champagne." Source

Norway: Hide the Brooms

Handmade Witches' Brooms

Handmade Witches' Brooms: Besom is the traditional witch's broom. It's associated with all kinds of legend and folklore, including the popular notion that witches fly around in the night on a broomstick - Photo source

"According to Norwegian folklore, Christmas Eve is the day when mischievous spirits and witches take to the skies for mischief and general tomfoolery. As witches often use brooms as their preferred mode of transportation, it is tradition for Norwegian families to hide any cleaning supplies attached to sticks where the witches won't be able to find them." Source

Finland: Sauna Elf

Finnish Sauna

Due to the high temperatures the body starts a thermoregulation process favouring an intense sweating, the opening of the skin pores and the elimination of toxins, with cardiovascular and muscular tone benefits. The dry climate of the sauna is also indicated for chronic rheumatism and arthritis. It also helps preventing inflammation, flu and colds. The pleasant scent of natural essences complete the treatment. Source

"Many homes in Finland come equipped with their own sauna, and at Christmas time this cozy spot becomes a sacred space associated with long dead ancestors. On Christmas Eve, it's customary to strip naked and take a long and respectful stint in the sauna, which is also believed to be home to the legendary sauna 'elf'. After the sauna session, Finns head out to the evening celebrations - while spirits of those ancestors take their place.

We don't know about you, but this tradition sounds awkward for those big Christmas family gatherings..." Source

Venezuela: Sledding Alternative

Unique Christmas traditions around the world: Caracas, Venezuela - roller skating to Christmas mass

Unique Christmas traditions around the world: Caracas, Venezuela - roller skating to Christmas mass Photo source

In the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, Christmas fans started a fun alternative to a 'one-horse open sleigh.' With no snow, they travel to Christmas mass on roller skates. No one knows for sure how this quirky tradition came about. Yet, it's now so well-established that many of the city's streets get closed for traffic so that the skating congregation can get to church safely.

The rumors have it that children sleep with one lace from their skates tied around their toe, while the other skate is dangling from the window. When the time comes, their friends can wake them up with a friendly tug on the lace. Nobody wants to miss the roller-skating mass! 🙂

Unique Christmas traditions around the world: Japan KFC Christmas

I hope you enjoyed this collection of unique Christmas traditions from around the world. In the comments below, please share which one is your favorite. Or which one you find to be the funniest. Photo source


Daria is a SunFlower by nature, on a mission to shine the light of beauty and happiness on this world in the same way that the Sun spreads its warmth.

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