Christmas Traditions Around the World

Ciao Yuletide Carolers:

Our favorite Christmas traditions around the world are wonderful – sometimes wonderfully weird – but wonderful, neverless. Whether you’re celebrating a religious festival, like Hanukkah or Christmas, or some other occasion, you’re sure to have your own set of rituals that make the holiday season special. Here are some of my favorite Christmas traditions around the world that are loud, proud and, well, just plain weird.

The Giant Lantern Festival held on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the Philippines Eleven villages take part in the festival and competition is fierce as everyone pitches in trying to build the elaborate, giant lantern. Originally, the lanterns were simple creations made from origami paper and lit by candle. Today, the lanterns are made from a variety of materials and are illuminated by electric bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns.

Since 1966, in Sweden, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built in the center of Castle Square, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – the most recent destruction was in 2016.

In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 tricksy troll-like characters come out to play in Iceland.The Yule Lads visit children across the country over the nights leading up to Christmas. Each night, children put their best shoes by the window and a different Yule Lad visits, leaving gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for naughty ones.
The trolls are pretty mischievous and with names like Spoon-Licker, Pot-Scraper, Door-Slammer, Sausage-Swiper, Window-Peeper and Candle-Stealer, you get a real sense of the mischief they can cause.

Did you ever think Christmas could be improved by group roller-blading? If the answer is yes, visit Caracas, Venezuela. Every Christmas Eve, the city’s residents head to church in the early morning hours; and, for reasons known only to them, they do so on roller skates. Th unique tradition is so popular that roads across the city are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety, before heading home for the less-than-traditional Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’.

What are some of your favorite (or weird) holiday traditions?

Life is Short. Celebrate Together.

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