With the Corporate Christmas Party season fast approaching, we decided to compile 10 of the most outrageous Christmas traditions from around the world. Check them out below!
Let’s start in Austria with quite possibly the scariest costume you will have ever seen. Men line the streets of Austria during the Christmas period dressed as a demon-like creature to scare the bad children. Krampus, the name of this frightening animal is known to be St Nicholas’s evil accomplice. The men who dress in the ‘animal’ costume, described as half demon and half goat, will punish the children who have misbehaved throughout the year. Have a look at the photo below, do you reckon that’ll scare the mischief out of your children?
The USA is well known for doing Christmas in style. Lots of snow, houses brightly lit and carol singers getting communities in the Christmas spirit. But did you know that US households often decorate their Christmas trees with pickles? April 1864, Private C. Lower of 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry was captured and taken prisoner. Whilst he was starved of food and water, he begged for a pickle, to which the guard obliged and the Private later credited the snack to be his saviour. Some families now hide a pickle on the tree and whichever child finds the snack first gets an extra present from Santa.
Let’s dive deep into Wales’ rural areas to dig out another unheard-of Christmas tradition. Mari Lwyd is the gift that keeps on giving. Each year one villager is selected to walk up and down the streets dressed up. No, not in their finest suit, but with a mare’s skull attached to a wooden pole whilst covered in white sheets. Yes, you heard that right and the jaw of the mare is sometimes spring-loaded, giving the audience a little bite on the way past.
Have you ever laid up too many places at dinner after a long day at work? Yep, me too but never intentionally like they do in Portugal. During the Christmas period, the tradition of ‘consoda’ families will lay up extra places for dinner. No, they’re not expecting guests, the extra places are for deceased relatives who may be sitting at the table in spirit. This tradition is upheld by families to ensure good fortunes.
Celebrations start earlier than most for children in Germany. On the eve of the 5th, kids leave their shoes outside their bedroom door in anticipation for them to be filled with presents. However, if their parents believe they have misbehaved, a branch will be placed in their shoe. This then warns the children to behave before Christmas or they will not receive any presents.
Every year on the 23rd of December, residents from the city of Oaxaca swarm to the city centre to watch and judge sculptures made from radishes. This tradition sees the radishes made into nativity scenes or other Christmas related periods. The sculpture that wins is then photographed and put in the Christmas eve paper.
7. All Around the World
Have you ever taken the plunge? For some strange reason, it has become a custom for (brave) people to jump into a freezing cold river, sea or lake across the continent. You can see Londoners jump into the Serpentine in Hyde Park or people sliding their way into the sea on the famous Brighton beach. Is this something you can handle or are you more of a presents in pyjamas person?
Turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing and vegetables. Sounds normal right? Well not for the people of Greenland. How about raw wale skin with a side order of blubber? This local delicacy is topped off by being wrapped in seal skin after being buried for several months.
Do you believe in the evil spirits at Christmas? Well the people of Norway certainly do on Christmas eve. Families in Norway tend to hide all the brooms before they go to bed on Christmas eve to keep away the bad spirits and witches. Witches at Christmas, spooky.
Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Some decide to go along to church during this festive period, normally in a car or walking. But not in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, it has become a custom to travel on roller skates to church. The roads are cleared by the council to provide a clear pathway for the roller-worshipers.