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6 Unusual Christmas Traditions from Around the World

6 Unusual Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Posted by Hilton Coylumbridge, December, 2014

Different countries have different traditions, also when it comes to Christmas. Some traditions are fun, some weird and some just really bizarre. Keep reading for our top six wacky Christmas traditions from around the globe – the last one is truly odd.

1. Find the Christmas Pickle

Let’s start with an old tradition that we don’t know the exact origins of, but that is common in the United States today. It’s the tradition of hiding an ornament in the shape of a pickle in the Christmas tree – yes, a pickle. The first person to find the pickle will receive either an extra gift from Santa, a reward or just good fortune for the following year. Sounds like a fun tradition for children in particular!    

2. Find the almond

This tradition has a bit of the same theme as the previous one. In Scandinavia it is common to eat a milk-based rice pudding or porridge (Yule porridge) at Christmas. The porridge is often eaten with cinnamon and sugar, but the tradition is to also hide an almond in the porridge. In Finland and Sweden, the one who finds the almond in their bowl and eats it is believed to be in luck the following year. In the rest of the Nordic countries the lucky person will get the almond present – often in the form of a marzipan pig.    

3. Fried Chicken for Christmas anyone?

Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, but that doesn’t stop the Japanese from having a very peculiar tradition, namely fried chicken at KFC…It all started when a group of foreigners couldn’t find turkey for Christmas and opted for chicken instead – and KFC naturally saw a marketing opportunity and launched its first Christmas meal and a hugely successful marketing campaign with the catchphrase ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’ in 1974. So if you’re in Japan, make sure you pre-order your fried chicken for Christmas!     

4. Christmas Witch

In Italy many children don’t wait for Santa Claus to bring them gifts – the presents are believed to be delivered by an old witch called La Befana. She is usually portrayed as an old lady covered in soot who rides a broomstick and brings gifts and sweets to good children on Epiphany Eve, January 5th. Bad children get a lump of coal or dark candy in their socks instead. Similar to the tradition of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, Italian children typically leave a glass of wine and some food out for the Befana.   

5. Hide your Brooms

This Norwegian tradition also involves brooms. According to superstition in Norway you should hide your brooms on Christmas Eve – or risk witches and evil spirits rising from their graves and using the brooms to fly through the sky and create mayhem until the break of dawn. And yes, this is a Christmas tradition and not a Halloween one.   

6. The Pooper

We’ve saved the best for last…In Catalonia, Spain, it’s become tradition to decorate the traditional nativity scene with a special little someone called El Caganer (the Pooper) – typically a red-capped peasant or shepherd, but nowadays you can also buy them of famous people. What is so special about this figurine is that he is actually crapping, hence he’s placed a bit away from the rest of the nativity scene figures. He is there as a “fertiliser” that is supposed to yield a good harvest for the following year.

Create your own Christmas traditions

How about creating new traditions this holiday season, traditions that won’t include any cooking or cleaning for you? Join us for a delicious Christmas Day Lunch here at Hilton Coylumbridge in Aviemore, or kick it up a notch by spending the entire Christmas with us by taking advantage of our Magical Christmas Break Offer. 


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