Lights, carols and turkey ring in the Holidays here in Quebec, but it’s not the same everywhere in the world. Natrel invites you on a tour of the world's most unique Holiday traditions.
Ukraine: Friendly spiders
Ukrainians decorate their Christmas tree with synthetic spiders and spider webs. Not because they’re still celebrating Halloween, but to honour their folklore, which says that in the days of yore spiders decorated the trees of poor families.
Norway: Keep it in the closet
It’s the Christmas Eve custom in Norway to hide the household brooms before going to bed in order to protect the home from evil spirits. For it’s believed that witches and evil spirits may come take them for a joy ride!
Sweden: Starring Donald Duck
In Sweden, most families gather around the TV at three in the afternoon to watch the Disney Christmas special Kalle Anka, which stars Donald Duck. It’s been aired every year on the same channel at the same time since December 24, 1959. Each time the channel has attempted not to broadcast it, or to move it to another slot, it has caused an uproar with viewers.
Germany: A Christmas pickle
The final element to go on the Christmas tree in Germany is a green blown-glass pickle. Often passed down from generation to generation, the pickle is camouflaged in the branches, hidden from the children on Christmas morning. The first one to find it is rewarded with a privilege or a gift, plus good luck for the next year.
Japan: It’s a KFC Christmas
Although Christmas is not a traditional holiday in Japan, North American customs have had an impact on Japanese culture. On Christmas night, the Japanese eat the closest thing to turkey in their country: Kentucky Fried Chicken. For forty dollars, the fast food chain offers a complete Christmas dinner, including dessert and champagne. The concept is so popular that reservations must be made two months in advance, and line-ups can last as long as two hours.
Venezuela: Roller Derby Morning Mass
From the 16th to 24th of December in Caracas, traffic to get to morning mass used to be so dense that the city decided to ban all motor vehicles before eight in the morning. The result is six consecutive mornings of city residents rollerskating their way to church.
Italy: A Christmas witch
Santa Claus doesn’t do all the work during the Holidays. Legend has it that a witchy old lady gives out candies to kids on January 6. Known as La Befana, she looks like a smiling grandma and happens to ride a broom.
Portugal: A holiday from dirty dishes
Nobody has to do the dishes on Christmas Eve in Portugal. Instead the leftovers are left out on the table in case the souls of late relatives feel the need to snack during the night.
Ireland: Christmas Cheer!
According to the ways of the Irish, Santa Claus is not welcomed with a glass of milk and cookies the night before Christmas. He prefers mince pie, Guinness and whisky.