Celebrating Christmas unites people from all around the world, but there are also plenty of festive traditions which are unique to individual Countries. Some of them are pretty bizarre, too. Don’t believe me? Read them for yourself!
1). Austria – Evil Krampus
Children in the UK are warned that misbehaving means Santa leaves you a lump of coal in your stocking – not gifts*
In Austria, the “Naughty Children” legend is much scarier – If Austrian kids misbehave, Santa’s evil twin, Krampus will visit and beat you with Birch sticks! (Have you ever noticed that Santa is an anagram of Satan)?! I can’t decide whether this tradition is more likely to encourage good behaviour, or a phobia of Christmas.
*DaddyGeek had never heard of this tradition, so I bought him some coal the first Christmas we were together! – TRUE STORY)
2). Czech Republic – Fortune Telling Shoe
In the UK, unmarried women try to catch the bride’s bouquet at weddings, in the hope it will bring wedding bells their way. In the Czech Republic, Christmas Eve is the annual date on which unmarried women try to predict their own future. They look forward to it with some trepidation. On Christmas Eve, the unmarried women stand with their backs to a door and throw one of their shoes at it. A toe facing towards the door is said to be good luck, and means she will get married that year. If the shoe’s toe points inwards, it signals another year of spinsterhood ahead.
3. Ukraine – The Lucky Spider
Decorating Christmas Trees is a tradition which is celebrated worldwide. However, in the Ukraine, one decoration will stand out – A spider on it’s web. This little trinket is usually hidden amongst the Christmas Tree’s deep branches, and the person who finds it first is believed to enjoy good luck for the rest of the year!
4). Germany – Hunt the Gherkin
Germans add one very unique ornament to their Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree) – A Gherkin shaped decoration! Traditionally, this piece is placed onto the tree last, and the first child to find it is thought to have good luck for the following year, plus an extra present!
5). Norway – Hide The Broom
Norwegians think Santa and his reindeer have more than just air traffic control to contend with on Christmas Eve. It is their belief that witches and evil spirits roam at large, as well. Of course, evil spirits and witches can’t fly without their brooms; so of course Norwegians do the logical thing: They hide every broom in the house, then go outside and fire a shotgun to keep the spirits away!
Honestly – I am not making this up!
I have to say, I like the lucky spider tradition. I hate Spiders, but the idea is a lovely one.
I have a couple of traditions of my own, which I won’t skip for anyone… Firstly, Christmas Eve MUST involve reading T’was the night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore.
Secondly, the Christmas decorations do not come down until exactly 12 days AFTER Christmas – 6th January. I am a bit insane about this one!
This is a sponsored post.