Caganer Man, Spain
Way to make the nativity scene super awkward! In Spain, in the Catalonian area, the Catalonians depict the scene including a figure of the Caganer a man taking a number 2 often seen smoking a pipe simultaneously. The meaning behind it goes in many directions. Some say it is a symbol of fertility and was placed in the scene to bring luck, prosperity and joy to the coming year. Others say that it is a sign of equality that no matter who you are race, gender or status, that we all have needs like the Caganer.
La Befana, Italy
11 day after Christmas, on January 5th, a witch who appears old named La Befana flies by on her broomstick and delivers even more gifts and sweets to children who have been good all year. Story goes that the witch turned down the opportunity offered by the three wise men to visit the baby Jesus. Feeling guilty, she now travels the world endlessly giving presents to children for all eternity.
Christmas Spider, Ukraine
If you’re arachnophobic, you might want to skip visiting Ukraine for Christmas. The traditional decorating the Christmas tree with spiders and webs represents good luck for Ukrainians. This custom stems from a story about a widow and her children unable to afford a Christmas tree. The spiders in the house heard their woes and spun intricate webs around their bare-branched makeshift tree and that seemed good enough to make up for not having an evergreen.
Yule Cat, Iceland
Iceland Bares a myth about a beast called the Yule Cat. If you don’t receive new clothes before Christmas Eve, you’ll be eaten by this feline monster. It’s a lesson taught to children that they must work hard to earn nice things before prestigious holidays or else their laziness may have them sacrificed to the Yule Cat.
La Quema del Diablo, Guatemala
It seems the Guatemalans see Christmas as an opportunity to rid their homes of any possibility of satanic contact. They sweep their houses spick and span before Christmas and then each town creates a giant hill of dirt. Upon the tip of the pile, they place a representation of the devil. Then they burn it.
Candy Shoes, Germany
On December 5th, children are to leave a shoe outside overnight and the next morning they should discover sweets inside their footwear. However, if they were naughty, they’ll discover not candy and chocolates but a measly tree branch.
Skates and Strings, Venezuela
On Christmas Eve, in the capital city of Caracas, children tie a string to their Big toe and let the end of the string hang outside their window. On the day of the “Early morning mass”, streets are closed off until 8am for people to roller skate their way to church. Along the way, they often tug on any string they see hanging out of these children’s windows.
Delicious Christmas Treats, Greenland
Greenland also has unusual Christmas traditions of the culinary sort where they serve up matter which is raw whale skin paired with a side of blubber. They also consume kiviak which is 500 auk birds stuffed into a seal skin and if that’s not appetizing enough, it’s left to ferment for 7 months!
Running Santas, USA
America has created the odd tradition called “The Running of the Santas”. It is quite literally a bar crawl of hundreds of people dressed up as Santa. It prepares itself like a marathon. but boozing is at every pit stop.
Kentucky Fried Christmas, Japan
If you didn’t already know, the japanise are huge on KFC on Christmas уму due seeing it in anime or commercials. It basically all stemmed from KFC’s 1974 commercial advertising that “Christmas = Kentucky” and they invested major yen into such promotion.