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Interesting and Unusual Christmas Traditions Celebrated Around the World

1. Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines

Every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando, the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” the Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) welcomes visitors from all over the country and around the world.

2. KFC Christmas Dinner, Japan

Don’t bother with the Christmas turkey. Kentucky Fried Chicken is a typical Christmas dinner for many Japanese. The chicken is presented in festive packaging.

3. Cavalcade of Lights, Toronto

More than 300,000 energy-efficient LED lights illuminate the Square and Christmas tree from sundown to 11 p.m. till the New Year. In addition, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing fireworks displays and outdoor ice skating.

4. Gävle Goat, Sweden

A 13-meter-tall Yule Goat has stood in the center of Gävle’s Castle Square for Advent since 1966, but this Swedish Christmas custom has unknowingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people attempting to burn it down. The Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times since 1966, the most recent being in 2016.

5. 13 Yule Lads, Iceland

Iceland celebrates 13 days of Christmas, similar to the 12 days of Christmas in the United States. The 13 Yule Lads visit Icelandic children every night before Christmas. The kids will go upstairs to bed after putting their shoes by the window.

6. Krampus, Austria

Krampus, St. Nicholas’ evil partner, is a beast-like demon creature that roams city streets terrifying children and punishing those who are bad during the first week of December.

7. Christmas Porridge, Finland

On Christmas morning, Finnish families traditionally eat a porridge made of rice and milk topped with cinnamon, milk, or butter. Whoever finds the almond placed inside one of the puddings “wins”—but some families cheat and hide a few almonds so the kids don’t get upset. At the end of the day, it is customary to warm up in a sauna together.

8. Saint Nicholas’ Day, Germany

Nikolaus, not to be confused with Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas), goes by donkey in the middle of the night on December 6 (Nikolaus Tag) throughout Germany, leaving little gifts such as coins, chocolate, oranges, and toys in the shoes of good children. Each child must recite a poem, sing a song, or draw a painting in exchange for sweets.

9. Hiding Brooms, Norway

In Norway, where people hide their brooms, one of the most unusual Christmas Eve traditions may be found. It’s a centuries-old tradition, dating back to when people believed witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve in search of brooms to ride on. Many individuals still keep their brooms hidden in the safest part of the house to prevent them from being stolen.

10. Rollerblading to Church, Venezuela

Do you enjoy Christmas but believe it may be enhanced by a little rollerblading? If you answered yes, make a trip to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, this year. Every Christmas Eve, the city’s people go to church early in the morning – so far, so typical – but they do so on roller skates for reasons only they know about. 

11. Kutya, Ukraine

Orthodox Christians account for about half of Ukraine’s population, and they celebrate Christmas Day on January 7 by donning traditional garb and singing hymns as they stroll across town. A typical Christmas Eve dessert is kutya, which is comprised of cooked wheat combined with honey, powdered poppy seeds, and sometimes almonds. Some households throw a spoonful of kutya at the ceiling, hoping that it will stick and bring a good harvest next year.

12. Slovakia

Slovak Christmas Trees are decorated with colored lights, fruits, hand-made decorations made of wood, baked goods made with honey in the form of Angels, and other religious symbols and sweets. Christmas Trees are kept until January 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany).

We decorated beautiful handmade Christmas lanterns during the Environmental Club time as a symbol of many cultural holidays. They were also beautiful presents for our families. We hope they liked them.

Merry Christmas to Everyone.

Ms. Eva Gogova

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