Christmas traditions may not be the same across the different cultures in the world but they do carry the same meaning of sharing the festive joy and making merry!
Source: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash
In Singapore, Christmas celebrations may entail walking down Orchard Road, taking pictures for the Gram, going to church, and enjoying a Christmas feast of turkey and cake, among others. But that is not necessarily how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas.
We take a look at some of the quirky, weird and wonderful ways Christmas is celebrated around the world! And if you feel inspired to start your own tradition, we are not stopping you!
1. Japan: Eating KFC for Christmas
Though it may sound quirky to the rest of the world, in Japan, a bucket of KFC’s fried chicken has become a traditional meal to be enjoyed during Christmas time. The tradition dates back to a brilliant marketing campaign in December 1974, which promoted KFC fried chicken as the ideal Christmas meal, kick-starting a decades-long holiday tradition in the country.
2. Austria: The Krampus Parade
Source: Jody Marx/Pixabay
In Austria, there is a legend that if you’re good, St. Nicholas (i.e. Santa Claus) will bring you a nice gift but if you’re bad, the Krampus, a horned devil-like creature, will come to take you. Some of the alpine countries like Austria and Bavaria, hold the Krampus Parade, wherein young men dress up as the scary character and travel in a procession through the streets. Though the procession has become much tamer over the years, it remains as quite the scary sight to behold.
3. China: Gifting Apples
Source: China Daily
While a popular choice of sweet among many during this festive season may be log cakes and candies that is not the case in China. A rising tradition in the country is giving people apples. The tradition is believed to have originated due to the similarity between the Mandarin word for Christmas Eve, “Ping'an Ye”, which means peaceful and the Mandarin word for apple, “píngguǒ” which sounds like peace. During the festive season, many stores offer apples wrapped up in coloured papers for sale.
4. Iceland: The Coming of Yule Lads
Source: Nordic Games
One of the big Yule customs in Iceland is the coming of the Yule Lads (Jólasveinarnir or Jóltide Lads). The magical and mischievous gnome-like creatures are said to take turns descending from the mountains for 13 nights from 12 Dec and kids can expect a present from one of them. Each night, the playful creatures leave little presents in shoes for the good children and potato for the naughty kids.
5. Ukraine: Spider Web Decorations on Christmas Tree
In certain parts of Ukraine, Christmas trees are often adorned with artificial spider webs, made with paper and silver wire. This tradition is said to have hailed from an old legend about a poor family who couldn’t afford ornaments for their Christmas tree. The family goes to sleep on Christmas Eve when a spider covers the tree in cobwebs, which magically turns into gold and silver strands on Christmas.