Everyone’s most favorite time of the year has come. It’s the time of the year when everything’s festive and magical. People around the world are happier and they are enjoying their time with their family and friends.
It doesn’t matter what type of holiday you are celebrating, is it Christmas, Hanukkah or something else, you definitely have some kind of tradition that you do every year. People are different and their customs and rituals when it comes to the holiday season are different too. Some traditions are maybe strange, but they definitely are amazing and fun. We are going to show you some of the most interesting holiday traditions around the world.
11. Gävle Goat, Sweden
The first one is from Sweden and it’s done every year since 1966. In the center of Gävle’s Castle Square, a 13-meter-tall Yule Goat is built. But this is not all of it, another tradition was made and that includes burning down the Yule Goat. It was burned down successfully 29 times. If you are not able to go to Sweden but you are interested to see what will happen to Yule Goat you can watch everything through a live video stream on Gävle’s website.
10. Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines
We are traveling now all the way to the Philippines, where each year on a Saturday before Christmas Eve ‘The Giant Lantern Festival’ is held. The festival is organized in the city of San Fernando, which is known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”. This festival is a competition, where everyone is trying to build the most amazing lantern. When it first started the lanterns were simple and from paper, and they were lit by candles. But now, everything is different, the lanterns are as big as they get and they are illuminated by electric lights. This event attracts visitors from all over the Philippines and from all over the world.
9. Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner, Japan
Normally in Japan, they don’t celebrate Christmas, you can see some decorating here and there but in general, Christmas is something new in Japan. But something that has been very popular in recent years is Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner. There is even a festive menu from the KFC Japan, where you can find Christmas-themed standard bucket or if you are feeling very festive a premium roast-bird.
8. Krampus, Austria
Not everything Christmas related is cute and funny. In Austrian tradition there is St. Nicholas that rewards kids that have been good that year, but there is also Krampus, St. Nicholas evil accomplice. Krampus captures the naughty children and whisks them away in his sack. Young men dress up as Krampus on the eve of St. Nicholas Day and they walk around city streets frightening children with chains and bells.
7. Saint Nicholas’ Day, Germany
Another tradition with Saint Nicholas and this one is when St. Nicholas travels by a donkey in the night on December 6, and he leaves little treats in the shoes, which were left by good children. We’ve told you about St. Nicholas evil accomplice in Austria, and in Germany, his name is Knecht Ruprecht. He is a devil-like guy dressed in dark clothes with a dirty beard, and he carries a stick in his hand to punish any naughty children.
6. The Yule Lads, Iceland
In Iceland, there is a tradition where 13 trolls come out to play in the 13 nights before Christmas. They are called Yule Lads and they visit the children every night for 13 days before Christmas. This tradition is called Yuletide, and children need to place their best shoes by the window every night. Every night a different Yule Lad visits, and the leaves gifts for good children and rotten potatoes for the naughty ones. These trolls are funny and they like to cause trouble. If you visit Iceland this Christmas you can maybe see one of them.
This tradition is a little bit unorthodox and it can be found in Norway. This tradition dates back centuries to when people believed that witches ride on the brooms. They believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve and they try to find and steal brooms so they can ride on them. Many people still hide their brooms somewhere in their houses so that they can’t be stolen.
In Venezuela, every Christmas Eve people from all around Caracas go to the church in the morning. It would be pretty simple and normal if they didn’t do it on roller-blades. This is a unique tradition and we don’t really know why they do it. But because of that, the streets of Caracas are closed for cars so the people can skate in safety.
3. Lighting of National Hanukkah Menorah, Washington, D.C. – US
Since 1979, a nine-meter Menorah is raised in the White House grounds for the eight days and nights of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. This ceremony is so big and it followed with music, speeches and many activities for kids. The lighting of the first candle takes place at 4 pm, no matter the weather circumstances and another candle is lit each successive night.
2. Day of the Little Candles, Colombia
The start of the Christmas season in Colombia is marked by an event that is called ‘Day of the Little Candles’. People in the honor of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception place candles and paper lanterns in their windows. This tradition has grown into a competition and now people are competing who can create the most amazing candle and lantern arrangement.
1. Cavalcade of Lights, Toronto
And the last but certainly not the least Christmas tradition is from Toronto. To mark the start of the holiday season Toronto has the annual Cavalcade of Lights. The Square and Christmas tree is decorated by more than 300,000 lights that shine every day until 11 pm until the New Year’s Eve celebration.