Maybe you only know Santa Claus and Christmas trees. Maybe you just put your Christmas stocking over your chimney. But in some countries Christmas doesn’t look like that. Let you discover foreign Christmas traditions !
Did you know that some people encourage Santa Claus to drink ? That’s the tradition on Christmas in Ireland : let a glass of whisky for him (and some carrots for his reindeer). All around the world, people are celebrating Christmas sometimes… a little bit strangely.
In Ukraine, instead of decorating their Christmas trees with lights and ornaments, they decorate it with a fake spider and spider web. The reason they do this is because of an old tale where a poor woman couldn’t afford to decorate her tree. When she woke up the next morning, a spider had covered her tree with a glittering web.
In Caracas, Venezuela, people go to church on roller skates ! The authorities block the streets to ensure safety. Rumor has it that children will sleep with one lace from their skates tied around their big toe, with the skate dangling from the window so that their friends can wake them up with a tug on the lace.
In Norway, people hide brooms before they go to bed. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries to a time when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. Many Norwegian families still hide all their brooms in the safest place in the house to stop them from being stolen and protect themselves.
In Iceland, a mythical story said that a giant yuletide cat is said to roam the cold and icy Icelandic countryside at Christmas time. Traditionally, local farmers would use the Yule Cat as an incentive to make sure that their farm workers would work hard and by reward, receive a new set of clothes. The fate for those workers who did not work hard enough was to be taken away by the cat. That’s why today it is customary for people in Iceland to receive new clothing at Christmas.
In Greenland, ‘Kiviak’ is the raw flesh of little auks (a type of arctic bird) which have been buried whole in sealskin for several months until they have reached an advanced stage of decomposition ! Bon appétit as they say in French…
In Germany, in the tradition, an ornamental pickle is placed on a Christmas tree as one of the Christmas decorations. On Christmas morning, the first person to find the pickle on the tree would receive an extra present from Santa Claus or would be said to have a year of good fortune.
Marjorie Le Meur