Christmas Around The World

christmas traditions around the world including Mexican radish festival

Christmas Around the World

We all have our own family Christmas traditions and the rest of the world is no different. We have compiled some of the most unusual for you.

Greenland

On Christmas night the men look after the women, serving their food and coffee and stirring the meal for them.

Caracas, Venezuela

Attending Christmas Mass is central to the festive season in many catholic countries but in Venezuela they do it a little differently – on roller skates. The streets are closed off in the early mornings between December 16 and December 24, no cars or buses, just skaters on their way to church.

Iceland

A reward for the children for hard work, courtesy of the Yule cat. According to legend this cat eats children who haven’t worked hard enough. But, if children have finished all their work before Christmas they get new clothes and are safe.

Another children’s tradition is that 13 days before Christmas, Icelandic children will place a shoe at their bedroom window in hopes of receiving something from one of the 13 Yuletide Lads. Well-behaved children will get little treats such as candy or chocolate stuffed into their shoes and the naughty ones, a rotting potato.

Sweden

Goats are a big feature of Christmas here, ranging from small ornaments to giant straw ones placed in the street. However, there is also a tradition of burning the goats and they are regularly vandalised or set on fire!

display of radishes

The Night of the Radishes

Oaxaca, Mexico

The Night of the Radishes is celebrated on December 23, when stalls at the city’s zocalo fill up with radishes sculpted into nativity scenes, historical figures and more.

This Youtube video explores the festival – these radishes are on steroids!! (Skip to 4:37 and 7:59 if you haven’t time to watch the whole thing)

Norway

Historically, people believed witches came out on Christmas Eve to look for brooms to ride on so they hid them all ways possible. Today Norwegian women still hide all brooms in their house before going to bed on Christmas Eve.

Syria

In Syria children receive gifts from one of the wise men’s camels, in legend the youngest and smallest in the caravan, who fell down exhausted at the end of the long journey to Bethlehem.

Japan

A traditional delicacy for Christmas dinner here is a KFC bucket! Thanks to a lack of turkeys and the fried chicken is so popular you have to order weeks in advance for the holidays. It’s a tradition that has lasted for 40 years!

Ukraine

According to legend, a poverty-stricken family went to bed on Christmas Eve despondent because they wouldn’t be able to decorate their tree. The spiders, heard the cries of the family, and decorated the tree with their webs. On Christmas day, the strands turned to gold and silver, changing the family’s fortune forever. So Ukrainian Christmas trees are often decorated with fake spider webs.

spider

Blog post courtesy of Alison Withers

Radish Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Summary