For most of us, Christmas is a season of giving and sharing. It is a time to prepare a festive banquet and open presents with our families. It’s a time when kids hang up stockings by the chimney, hoping that Saint Nick would drop by to fill it with goodies. While we are spending the holidays the way others do in other parts of the world, some are gearing up to get quirky and go nuts with traditions that would make your eyebrows rise.
Check out these odd Christmas traditions people do in the name of the Yuletide season.
1. Visit the graves of those who already departed.
In Finland, families go to cemeteries on Christmas eve, to visit the graves of their loved ones who already passed away. Hence, the night before Christmas, cemeteries would become a lovely sight because of all the candles that have been lit up.
2. Decorate the Christmas trees with artificial cobwebs.
Most of us would decorate our Christmas trees with glittery balls and lights, but in Ukraine, their trees are filled with artificial cobwebs. Strange, right? According to locals, the tradition began long ago. A poor woman could not afford fancy ornaments for their tree. But the following morning, she and her kids just woke up to see that the tree has already been covered with cobwebs. As soon as morning light touched the webs, they turned to silver and gold.
3. Line up for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Yes, you read it right. Every Christmas, the Japanese makes it a point to have Kentucky Fried Chicken served for the holidays. While the rest of the world goes crazy for ham and turkey, Japan’s KFC sells over 240,000 barrels of Christmas. This custom was said to have started four decades ago. Since then, the tradition has been passed from generation to generation.
4. Wait for the magical Yule Lads.
Starting December 12 up to the 23rds, the kids in Iceland leave a shoe near their windows. It is believed that every night, 13 magical Yule lads climb down from the mountains to put gifts in the shoes of children who have been good.
5. Go around the neighborhood dressed in extravagant disguises.
Country: Newfoundland, Canada
In Newfoundland, locals visit the neighborhood while dressed in extravagant disguises. This tradition is called Mummering. To make the season fun and festive, Mummers use unusual languages and flaunt odd postures. That way, they remain unidentifiable to the people they visit. In the event that the homeowner recognizes the Mummer, he will be gifted with foods and drinks.
6. Head to the beach.
While we’re all cold and dressed up for the cold Christmas nights, Australians gear up and head to the beach for a limitless sunbathing Christmas party! You know why? Because it is summer. They don’t experience a white Christmas like those in the northern hemisphere.
7. Decorate banana trees.
Being in a tropical country known for coconut products like organic coconut oil, Indians don’t experience decorating pine trees. Because of that, they opt for banana trees instead! That only means that households are often decorated with Christmas banana trees for the holidays.
These Christmas traditions may appear alien to us, but if we’re in their shoes, we’d probably think what we’re doing is normal. Then again, most of these traditions have their ancient origins and it’s what makes them unique. And at the end of the day, these customs give more meaning to the Yuletide season.