Christmas is just around the corner and this is my last Christmas Special!

I’ve already mentioned that I’m not much for traditions, but I think I still celebrate Christmas as a typical Swede. This year, I’ve traveled to the west coast of Sweden to celebrate with my boyfriends family and we’re going to eat a lot of food, watch Kalle Anka at three a clock and get a visit from Santa and exchange Christmas gifts just as about every household in Sweden.

I think one of the most rewarding things about traveling, besides exploring new places, is to get to know more about traditions and cultural aspects of the places I visit. Since I’m doing these Christmas specials every Sunday leading up to Christmas I wanted to do some research on how Christmas is celebrated around the world – and found a lot of interesting traditions!

Do you know why Norwegians hide their brooms or why Slovaks throw their Christmas dinner in the ceiling? Continue reading to find out!

You do not want to behave badly in Austria, or you might get a visit from Santas evil cousin Krampus. Krampus is a demonic beast that haunts the streets, scares children and kidnaps the disobedient in their sack, and in the beginning of December, young men dress up like Krampus to scare the children.

Brasil has a great Christmas tradition and that is that all workers get an extra salary payment in December as a Christmas bonus – and that is legisalted!

According to tradition is Saint Nikolaus (not to be mistaken for Santa) traveling with a donkey and leave coins, chocolate and toys to all the well behaved children in Germany. Kids often recite poems, sings a song or give Nikolaus a painting in return since saint Nikolaus also brings Knecht Ruprech who is a devilish character who puniches the disopidient with a whip.

During the 13 days leading up to Christmas are 13 mischievous Yule Lads, a couple of troll-like types, visiting the children of Iceland. The children place their best shoes by the window at night, and if they’ve been good the Yule Lads will leave gifts, but if they’ve been bad they’ll get rotten potatoes. The Yule Lads all have different names like Þvörusleikir (spoon licker), Pottaskefill (plate scratcher) and Hurðaskellir (door slammer), which gives a hint on what mischievous they might cause.

Christmas isn’t a part of the Japanese traditions since only around one percent of the population are Christians. All their Christmas celebrations are adopted from western countries and due to a successful advertising campaign in 1974 with the slogan “Kentucky for Christmas,” it’s common for Japanese households to eat Kentucky fried chicken at Christmas.

Christmas is actually celebrated the 6th of December in the Netherlands and at the celebration, the children are waiting on Sinterklaas and his companion Zwarte Piet to slide down the chimney and leave candy and nuts to the children that have behaved well during the year. It’s common to put out hay and sugar in a shoe to give to Sinterklaas horse.

People in Norway have a quite unorthodox tradition around Christmas – they hide their brooms so they won’t lose them to witches. This tradition is traced back hundreds of years to when people were afraid that witches and evil spirits would appear on Christmas to steal brooms, but many people in Norway are still hiding their brooms!

In some remote villages in the province Chumbivilcas in Peru the population gather on the 25th of December every year to solve disputes by fist fights. This tradition is called Takanakuy and has nothing to do with Christmas other than it’s “celebrated” the same time of the year but I thought it was a way to interesting tradition to leave out from this post, haha.

If you’re looking for a big lantern festival the day before Christmas, you should pack your bags and visit San Fernando, which is known as the Philipines Christmas capital with its Ligligan Parul Sampernandu = Big Lantern festival. The lanterns are up to 6 meters in size and are lighten with electronic lights and shine in all the colours of the rainbow.

At the beginning of the Christmas dinner in Slovakia, the dad in the family usually take a spoon filled with the traditional Christmas dish “Loksa” (=a kind of bread filled with stuffing and water) and throw it up in the ceiling. The longer the Loksa stays in the ceiling, the richer the harvest.

My favorite Christmas tradition must honestly be the one in the Venezuelan capital Caracas where all car roads are blocked on Christmas morning. Why? Because everyone is taking their roller skates to church, obviously.

Which of these Christmas traditions would you like to experience?

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32 kommentarer

  1. Hahahahaa… så roligt att läsa om alla dessa traditioner! Gillar Brasiliens sätt att belöna sina anställda med en extra lön i december – borde flera få uppleva 😀 Hoppas du hade en underbar jul på västkusten 🙂 Stor kram <3

  2. Jag kanske är blind, eller letat för dåligt, men har du en översättningsknapp här på bloggen, jag suger på engelska haha!! 🙂

    1. Hej, tyvärr har jag inte lagt in någon egen översättningsknapp då det brukar bli lite knas med automatisk översättning men kör på Google Translate så får du i alla fall ett humm om vad texterna handlar om – annars är ju detta ettt fantastiskt tillfälle att öva på engelska 😉

  3. Sånt här tycker jag är så himla kul att läsa hihi! Älskar detta inlägg! Haha men alltså att slänga upp mat i taket?! Känns inte så jättekul!

  4. ja det är lite tradition med kalle osådär så man sitter där ändå he he he Venezuelan capital Caraca lät väldig cool tyckte ja hi hi
    han en fin helg o snart nyår kram

  5. Wow, how exciting reading some of these. Had no idea our neighbours in the west are afraid of witches, haha. Good thing my broom is always hidden and don’t have to worry about that.. :p

  6. Nej vilket kul inlägg!! Hade verkligen ingen aning om så mycket utav det här. Framför allt Venezuela, haha! KRAM och hoppas du har haft en fantastisk jul <3

  7. Men gud vad roligt att läsa! 😀 Hade ingen aning om typ något av det här nästan? Visste verkligen inte att man firade jul 6e December i Nederländerna :O

  8. Så himla intressant att läsa om olika traditioner 🙂 Lite det jag har studerat på uni faktiskt, traditioner, så tycker det är så intressant 🙂

  9. Kul inlägg! Jag gillar att se olika länders traditioner. Jag och min pojkvän kommer från olika länder så det är kul att höra hur hans familj firar olika högtider borta hos dom 🙂

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