Our beautiful earth is grande and incredible and the Christmas traditions are as different as they are many. I would like to share with you a couple of really adorable and some quite strange traditions I found so charming and am sure you will like!
Our neighbours in Norway apparently hide their brooms after the Christmas dinner so the witches and other evil spirits wont steal them and enmesh their homes. Some go even further and go outside after the dinner and fire couple of warning shots from a riffle to the sky!
The Yule goat is adorned in Sweden during Christmas, all from small decorative goats to mammoth statues like the one in the city of Gavle. That gigantic goat has been set up every year in December but it has become famous for being burned down so many times. Since the year of 1966 till 2015 it has been destroyed 27 times (last time in 2013). Now you can do the maths...
Apparently you can follow the goats life on Twitter: Will it survive this year?
Christmas pudding is one of Britain's favourite Christmas tradition and some of the recipes get inherited throughout generations. The puddings are almost always black since it is so filled with brown sugar and the cooking time takes ages. The puddings are soaked in fruit juice and Brandy and are normally set to cook 4-5 weeks before Christmas and it can last up to a year! Every family member must stir the pudding while they make it's wish and when the pudding is served it is once again bathed in Brandy and set on fire!
Sometimes they hide little silver ornaments in it: a coin or a thimble and the one that gets it is said to have great fortune for the next year.
When I lived in Barcelona getting my education I got to know several traditions from Catalonia.
One of them is a little guy called "Caganer", loosely translated it is basically a pooping man with it's pants down and a pile of poop behind/below him! It is traditionally dressed with red hat, black pants and white shirt and they normally place him somewhere in the icon of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.
Can you picture it? A pooping man somewhere behind a tree next to some sheep...! Remarkable!
And they don't just stop there, no they have another "Christmas guy" they call Caga Tio or Tio de Nadal.
It is basically a tree trunk on four legs with a painted face and a warm blanket. It is placed somewhere safe in the beginning of December where the kids can take care of him. They make sure it doesn't get cold, give him food and water and love. Finally on Christmas eve they move him next to the fire place and sing songs for him while they beat him with sticks and ask him to poop the gifts!
This love for poop is just unbelievable and the tree trunk poops the presents and candy!
Caga tió, Poop trunk,
caga torró, poop nougat (turrón),
avellanes i mató, hazelnuts and cottage cheese.
si no cagues bé If you don't poop well
et daré un cop de bastó. I will hit you with a stick.
Caga tió! Poop trunk!
Ukraine has a lovely tradition that has to do with the Christmas tree!
They decorate their trees with fake spider web but they also consider it great luck to find a spider or some web on the tree before the holidays are over.
This tradition is based on an old story that tells the tale of a widow and her children that were so poor they couldn't afford Christmas decorations for their tree. The night before Christmas they cried for their misfortune and the spiders in the house heard them and felt sorry for them. They decided to cover the tree with web and as soon as the morning sun hit the web it turned to gold and silver threads and the little family celebrated happily!
It is also said the angel hair (Christmas tree decorative silver and gold hair) is descented from Ukraine!
In Caracas, Venezuela they have this tradition to roller skate to mass the days 16-24th of December.
During this time many streets are closed for traditional traffic so everyone can arrive safe to church. Even the children in the neighbourhood have fallen in the habit of attaching string around their toes and let them hang out the window so bypassing mass-goers can pull lightly as a little Christmas cheer.
We have one Japanese girl working for us at the sewing room and she told us about this tradition from Japan that is actually the results of a massive marketing campaign!
Circa 1970 KFC was owned by the same owners as Mitsubishi and they started advertising special KFC, deep-fried Christmas chicken buckets whereas there wasn't great traditional American Christmas food available for tourists. This became so popular that now the Japanese gather in cues in front of KFC for a Christmas bucket of their own. You can even "upgrade" your order and have a Luxurious bucket with complementing bottle of Champagne!
The Icelandic traditions are also great and many very strange! The story of the black Christmas cat is one of them:
The Yule Cat (Icelandic: Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur) is a monster from Icelandic folklore, a huge and vicious cat said to lurk about the snowy countryside during Christmastime and eat people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve. The Yule Cat has become associated with other figures from Icelandic folklore as the house pet of the giantess Grýla and her sons, the Yule Lads.
The threat of being eaten by the Yule Cat was used by farmers as an incentive for their workers to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas. The ones who took part in the work would be rewarded with new clothes, but those who did not would get nothing and thus would be preyed upon by the monstrous cat. The cat has alternatively been interpreted as merely eating away the food of ones without new clothes during Christmas feasts. The perception of the Yule Cat as a man-eating beast was partly popularized by the poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum in his poem Jólakötturinn. (Source material: Wikipedia).
Making your own traditions is of course another way to go because the traditions have to start somewhere right? We for example always open our Christmas cards in bed the morning on the 25th of December.
Create your own happiness!
If you liked this post, please be a dear and share the joy:)
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. -Jim Rohn
Katla, on behalf of
- Systur & Makar –
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