Unusual Christmas Traditions around the World

Matthew MacLachlan

20 Dec 2016

All over the world, people are getting excited: Christmas is on its way!  For many of us decorating our house and tree, getting together with family and preparing an elaborate meal are all part of the Christmas feeling. But Christmas is not celebrated the same everywhere. Let’s take a tour of the world and look at some unusual Christmas traditions around the world.

7 Unusual Christmas Traditions around the World

Witches on Brooms

In Norway, before going to bed on Christmas Eve, Norwegian women put their brooms inside their houses to prevent witches from stealing the broom.  The tradition comes from the old Norwegian myth that witches came out the night before Christmas to find a broom to fly on.


In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, people have quite a particular way of going to mass on Christmas Eve.  The Catholic people in this city dust down their roller skates and skate their way to church.  The streets are closed off for cars in the early mornings between 16 and 24 December to make way for the travelling skaters.

KFC for Dinner

What turkey is for the British, Kentucky Fried Chicken is for the Japanese.  In Japan, particularly this type of fried chicken will be eaten as the main dish over Christmas.  According to ABCNEWS, KFC will sell more than 240,000 of chicken barrels during Christmas which is five to ten times its normal monthly sales.

Decorating the Banana Tree

In India, people have no fir trees or pine trees to decorate, so they use other trees such as the mango tree and the banana tree.  They decorate these trees on the streets with flowers and lights and use the leaves to decorate their houses.

Flying Shoes

Traditionally on Christmas Eve, single Czech women determine how their love life will develop the following year by throwing a shoe.  They stand with their backs to the front door and throw a shoe over their shoulders.  If the shoe lands with the toe pointing to the door, they will get married within a year.  If not, there is no clue as to how long it will take to meet their Prince Charming. 

Sauna Time

On Christmas Eve, Estonian families spend their evening in the sauna.  Sharing stories, sometimes accompanied with vodka, is their way of bonding with their relatives during the Christmas period.

Watch out for the Cat

According to an Icelandic myth, a huge and scary cat called the Yule Cat will appear around Christmas time to eat people who have no new clothes to wear.  This myth originated from the fact that everybody had to take part in finishing the autumn wool before the Yule cat came.  People who helped were rewarded with a new item of clothing and people who did not do anything got nothing and would be eaten by the Yule Cat.

We hope you enjoyed this quick tour of unusual Christmas traditions around the world. Enjoy your Christmas traditions wherever you are and happy holidays!

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