5 Surprising Christmas Traditions Around The World

5 Surprising Christmas Traditions Around The World

5 Surprising Christmas Traditions Around The World

Posted by Hedi Schreiber on

The Christmas traditions around the globe show us the diversity in the world, so it’s no wonder that we found some of these traditions surprising or hard to understand. In order to cherish and appreciate the Christmas spirit shown in different forms, let’s make a holiday trip, and visit 5 countries with interesting and a bit weird Christmas traditions. 


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Fried Caterpillars - Christmas Dish In South Africa

Traditional Christmas dishes such as mince pie and turkey, are not on the menu in South Africa. Actually, families in South Africa look forward to prepare creepy crawlies. Fried caterpillars are one of the weirdest holiday dishes in the world but there are a few reasons for this custom. 

The first reason is the poverty in this area, so people needed to find the easiest and cheapest way to always have a dish on a plate for holiday such as Christmas. However, the second reason is that the Pine Tree Emperor Moth or Christmas caterpillar is cover in very festive hues - people of South Africa believe that eating this caterpillar will bring you extra luck in the coming year. 

Shoes and Carrots In The Netherlands

Instead of eagerly putting Christmas stockings next to the fireplace with some cookies and milk for Santa Clause, Dutch children place their shoes by the fire in hope that Sinterklaas ( Santa Clause) will fill the shoes with gifts and treats in the night. 

Also, a part of this Christmas tradition is to leave some carrots in the shoes for the white horse named Amerigo, who is the companion of Sinterklaas. In the past, naughty children would be left with a potato instead of the gift, but potato punishment is no longer considered an appropriate way to educate a kid. 

The Poop Log In Spain

The interesting Christmas tradition comes from the land of tango and sangria. Meet Tió de Nadal, the Christmas log. He is made from a hollow log, with stick legs, adorable smile, and a red hat. The tradition says that every evening between December 8th and Christmas Eve, the Spanish children feed the log small treats, and tuck him under a blanket to keep him warm.

On Christmas Eve, children are tasked with beating the log with sticks while singing traditional Christmas song which include lyrics such as poop log, poop nougats, Hazelnuts, and mato cheese, If you don't poop well, I'll hit you with a stick, poop log. 

The weirdest part takes its place after the beating and singing. After this act Tió de Nadal magically poops out presents and candy, and then, no longer needed the log is thrown in the fire for warmth.

The Big Yule Cat In Iceland

Maybe cat doesn’t seem surprising at all, but this Christmas tradition from Iceland certainly does. Traditionally, a giant cat is said to roam the snowy countryside at the Christmas time, and the farmers would use the Yule Cat as an incentive for their workers, so hard workers would receive a new set of clothes, but the lazy ones would be devoured by the gigantic cat-like beast.

This Christmas tradition leads to the custom that everyone in Iceland gets new clothing for Christmas to avoid an unsavory demise. 

Brooms And Witches In Norway 

Considering Norwegian folklore, Christmas Eve is the day when evil spirits and witches take to the skies for mischief and general tomfoolery. As we all know, the favorite mode of transportation for witches is a broom, so it is a tradition for Norwegian families to hide not only brooms but any cleaning supplies attached to sticks.

This way witches won’t be able to find them and to start visiting Norwegian cities. 

Pickle Hunt In Germany

The Christmas tree tradition we all embrace today have started in Germany back in the 16th century, so it is not surprising that Germans still have some funny and weird customs relating to the Christmas trees. One of these is to hide a pickle somewhere in the branches of the tree, and give a gift to whichever child in the house finds it. 

There are some who believe that this custom is not German at all. According to one legend, the Christmas pickle originated in Spain when two young boys were held as prisoners inside a pickle barrel. After Saint Nicholas rescued them, the boys were brought back to life. 

No matter in which story you believe, we can all agree that the pickle Christmas tradition put a smile on our face.

These are 5 Christmas traditions we picked as a interesting examples of different customs united in the same holiday we all love. 


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