It’s been two millennia since the birth of Christ and the true essence of Christmas keeps shifting over the years, catering to the vast variety of cultures while trying adamantly to hold onto its roots.
It’s that time of the year again when people set up their Christmas trees, roast their turkey, wear their woolen sweaters, indulge in the Secret Santa game, and engage in the other festivities. So is there a better time for us to reflect upon the glorious Christmas traditions from across the globe?
We have listed some of the traditions followed from across the world to help you find your own roots this Christmas.
We’ve all grown acquainted to Father Christmas/ Saint Nicholas, more popularly known as Santa Claus. But have you ever heard of the Bad Santa a.k.a. ‘Krampus’ who is considered to be Saint Nicholas’ evil accomplice? He is a horrendous ‘half-goat’ and ‘half-demon’ creature believed to roam the streets, hunting mischievous children to punish them for their misdoings. Things get interesting with the annual ‘Krampuslauf’ which directly translates to ‘Krampus Run’, a festival in which young men dress up as Krampus and parade through the streets of Tyrol, Austria.
Skatemas: Caracas, Venezuela
Every year on Christmas morning, the locals of Caracas roll their way to mass, literally. They slip into their roller skates and zip through the streets. The tradition has gained so much of momentum that popular streets in the cities are closed from traffic throughout the day, to make sure that the skaters have as smooth a ride as possible.
Legend also has it that little children go to bed with one end of a string tied around their toe and the other end left hanging outside the window. As skaters roll past, they tug at the string, waking up the children from their slumber so they can get their skates on and join the fun.
While it’s still unclear how this unique tradition came to be, we suspect that it was conceived as the summery alternative to snowboarding and sledging.
Oh, Chicken: Japan
With a single campaign in 1974, the world-renowned American fast-food joint KFC revolutionized Christmas for Japan. It started as a marketing initiative and ended up being a tradition that still thrives today. Families from across the country get themselves some ‘Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!’ which directly translates to ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’.
During every Christmas season, an estimate of around 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to fried chicken from KFC, making the fast-food joint clock almost ten times its daily sale.
“What’s The Big Idea?”: Sweden
On every Christmas Eve, families in Sweden gather around the television at 3pm sharp, to watch a familiar talking duck and his shenanigans on their screens.
The whole schedule for Christmas Eve is planned around the television special ‘Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas‘. More than 40% of Sweden’s population still tune-in like clockwork to this tradition that dates back to the 1960’s. Television was a new commodity in Sweden back then, and only two channels were aired – one of which played Disney cartoons at Christmas. It may sound a bit quirky, but an entire nation coming together to watch Christmas cartoons together is just about as Christmassy as it can get.
In the end, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or which religion you follow. Christmas is a culture and it has affected us all. Like a bag full of presents, there’s always something special and endearing about this festival for each and every person. People might not celebrate it the same way everywhere, but everybody gets to foster the spirit of Christmas and have a jolly good time while they’re at it.
~ Image Credits – Getty Images, Google Images
~ Artwork by Mayank Kashyap
~ Written by Melissa Carlo for MTTN