Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Blog113_Christmas_ShoppingMall-300x195 Christmas Traditions Around the WorldChristmas is an integral part of the holiday season. Albeit celebrated chiefly to celebrate God coming into the world to atone for humanity’s sins, its manner of celebration differs from culture to culture.

In the United States, the “Christmas season” kicks off after Thanksgiving; Black Friday becomes the avenue of entry into the holiday of giving, as people seek to splurge on discounted goods for themselves and their loved ones. Modern American Christmas traditions weren’t always prevalent. In the 1800s, Americans began combining ancient Christmas traditions with contemporary American influences; influenced by German immigrants, Americans began putting up decorated trees, giving presents, and using Santa Claus as an arbiter of good and bad. After the post-war economic boom, American reliance on foreign goods lessened, and the improved life quality of the average American helped Christmas evolve and become a holiday of giving for everyone. 

Other countries have traditions that may seem “weird” in the US but are loved and cherished locally.

Blog113_Christmas_KFC-300x201 Christmas Traditions Around the WorldIn Japan, Christmas is celebrated in a secular fashion. Thanks to a viral advertising campaign by KFC in the 1970s, eating KFC became a tradition. Somehow KFC convinced a country where a majority of citizens don’t identify as Christian that fried chicken is the traditional American Christmas feast, and the rest is fun and unique Japanese history. 

In Spain, el Caganer is the most important holiday figure. Literally translated as the “defecator,” the porcelain doll is shown to be squatting with his pants down trying to…poop? Legend has it that farmers would be punished with a poor crop harvest if they didn’t include a caganer in their nativity scene, so today, the tradition continues to thrive.

Blog113_Christmas_Horses-300x200 Christmas Traditions Around the WorldIn Wales, people carol with dead horses. Yes, you read that right—dead horses. The celebration of “Mari Lwyd,” a tradition that stems from Celtic rites, is supposed to bring good luck: one person will dress as a horse with an actual horse skull and will go from home to home with a group of people singing carols in exchange for food and drinks. The households can then participate in a “carol battle” (think rap battle for carols). Sounds pretty fun, honestly.

In Austria, Germany, and Hungary, bad children get a visit from Krampus. Santa Claus’ evil cousin is a red devil with cloven hooves, horns, and a long tongue who carries chains and a basket to abduct bad children and haul them to hell. I think I’ll postpone my trip to Berlin to next summer for now.

Blog113_Christmas_EvilCat-300x200 Christmas Traditions Around the WorldIn Iceland, the Yule Cat, known as Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur, eats people who haven’t received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve. A huge, vicious cat from Icelandic folklore, it was first used by farmers to threaten their workers to finish processing autumn wool before Christmas; those who took part would get new clothes. Those who didn’t…would get eaten by a giant cat?

Blog113_Christmas_WomanDrinkingHotChocolate-300x200 Christmas Traditions Around the WorldWhat was your favorite “weird” Christmas tradition? I think mine was the giant cat; I am not a cat person, so this gave me more reason to distrust cats. If you want to chat about other odd stuff, or anything at all, let’s connect on Konversai—your one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge. The online platform brings together knowledge providers, who can charge for their time, and knowledge seekers, who can enjoy a personalized session on exactly what they’re looking to learn on a particular topic, through one-on-one live video conversations. Sessions take place at times that are mutually convenient for both users involved, and you don’t even have to leave your house. All you need is a device with Internet connection and Skype or FaceTime. On Konversai, any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences, no matter how seemingly commonplace or obscure, have value. Join in on the fun and sign up for Konversai today!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Konversai!

By OJ Singh

Edited by Pavita Singh

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