9 unique Christmas traditions from around the world – Kiwi.com

How do people celebrate Christmas in different countries? We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting, alternative, and downright different Christmas traditions from around the world.

Pickle tree decoration, USA

Christmas pickle is an original feature of some festive trees in the United States – Shutterstock

There are many stories that describe the origin of the Christmas pickle. Some say it dates back to 16th-century Germany, while others say it originated in Spain with two boys rescued from imprisonment in a pickle barrel by St. Nicholas.

Either way, this tradition has reached the United States where many families hang this unusual ornament on their Christmas trees. It is popular among families with more children; the child who is the first to find the hanging pickle receives a gift.

“Kentucky for Christmas”, Japan

KFC Christmas Advertising in JapanFried chicken is a cause for festive celebration in Japan – Shutterstock

Fried chicken for Christmas dinner? It is common in Japan. The tradition began in 1974 with KFC’s marketing campaign, “Kentucky for Christmas!”. Even though Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, many families have celebrated it with KFC since then. In fact, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese visit the American fast food chain every Christmas.

Eggnog, United Kingdom

Two glasses of eggnog against wintry decorationsAlthough eggnog is the most popular in North America today, its roots can be found across the pond. – Shutterstock

True to the theme of Christmas food and drink, eggnog is an exceptionally traditional drink, usually made with egg yolk, milk, rum or whiskey and spices.

The history of eggnog dates back to medieval Britain. The drink is believed to originate from another drink called own, which was a mixture of hot sour milk, beer or wine and spices. Later, after traveling across the Atlantic, hot eggnog became associated with Christmas as its popularity spread to the American colonies in the 18th century.

Defecation log, Catalonia

Logs decorated with painted faces and red hatsBeating a personified log is a Christmas tradition in Catalonia – Shutterstock

Tio of Nadal, or the “Yule log”, is a unique tradition in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The hollow log with a face painted on it brings small gifts, much like Santa Claus filling a Christmas stocking. But there is a twist.

On December 8 – the day of the Immaculate Conception – families cover the log with a blanket to keep it warm and comfortable, and begin to “feed” it. On Christmas Eve, the log is placed near the fireplace and family members take turns beating it with a stick. After beating, the the log is supposed to defecate gifts and sweets, hence its alternative name Caga tió, or “Sh * t log”.

Chichilaki – the alternative Christmas tree, Georgia

Chichilaki in Georgian cuisine with painted walnuts underneathA chichilaki, with its delicate wooden coils, is a particularly unique Christmas decoration – Shutterstock

While a conifer is typically the Christmas centerpiece in many celebratory homes around the world, Georgians take a slightly alternative approach to this symbol.

they display chichilaki – a sculpture in the shape of a Christmas tree made from the wood of a hazel or walnut tree. The wood is shaved so that the finished product is a pretty impressive mop of makeshift branches. The chichilaki is then often decorated with red berries, dried fruits, or khela church, a traditional Georgian candy.

Christmas rollerblading, Venezuela

A person's foot in an inline skateSkating to Mass is a Unique Caraquenian Tradition – Shutterstock

The people of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas have given a unique and fun twist to their custom of going to Christmas mass. Every year they put on their inline skates and slide down there. It has become such a popular mode of transportation for this special occasion that the city now closes its streets to traffic until 8 a.m. the next morning, so families can skate together safely.

After Mass, according to tradition, families gather in the streets and at each other’s homes to celebrate by sharing food, playing music and dancing.

12 Christmas pubs, Ireland

Temple Bar in Dublin at night at Christmas timeTemple Bar is Dublin’s nightlife hotspot – Shutterstock

The popularity of this relatively new Irish tradition is on the rise. Even though this is more or less a pub crawl that takes place during Christmas week, there are a number of rules to keep in mind.

Participants dress in their “best” Christmas clothes – the more outrageous the better. A standard choice of attire is a garish sweater trimmed with Christmas gear such as bells or lights. In each of the bars, at least one drink should be consumed, which is usually a pint of beer.

As a rule, each pub also has its own drinking rule. In addition to that, groups usually form their own, such as not swearing, speaking only in a foreign accent, or drinking only with the left hand. A few bars in it and remembering all the rules becomes even more difficult.

Christmas Peace, Finland

Turku in the snow at duskTurku people prefer a quiet Christmas – Shutterstock

And now, from the loud crowds of Dublin to the seasonal serenity of Turku. Every year at noon on Christmas Eve in the former capital of Finland, the “Christmas Peace Declaration” is read to mark the start of the 20-day Christmas and peace celebrations. This tradition dates back to the 13th century.

Since 1886 the statement has been made on the balcony of the Brinkkala Mansion and today it is broadcast on national television and radio. The current script dates from 1903 and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas free from loud and boisterous behavior.

Carp bath, Czech Republic

Young boy reaches out to a fish swimming in a bathtubKeeping your carp as a pet before Christmas is an eccentric Czech tradition – Shutterstock

Carp, the freshwater fish that is the staple of any Czech Christmas table, is almost always sold direct. Vendors bring huge vessels of these hardbaits to towns and cities throughout December for the general public to choose which ones they want.

The journey of these slippery Christmas creatures doesn’t end here they’re brought home live, quickly dropped into the family tub, and left there until Christmas Eve. The common belief is that the longer the carp is kept alive in cleaner water before it is eaten, the tastier it will be in the end.

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