The Most Wonderful Time of The Year: Christmas Traditions Around the World

“Christmas is like candy; it slowly melts in your mouth, sweetening every taste bud, making you wish it could last forever.” – Richelle E. Goodrich.

The holiday seasons around the year are all special. But the Christmas spirit is unmatched. 

One of the most important holidays for the Christian world is, without a doubt, Christmas. And it is celebrated each year by billions of people in all parts of the world in their own particular traditions. While we are familiar with the mainstream Christmas traditions that we are used to glimpsing in Christmas movies, some Christmas traditions around the world might surprise you. Let’s dive deeper in to discover some popular Christmas traditions from different cultures. 

If you reside in a mainly Christian country, you must be familiar with the enchanting and beautifully lighted Christmas tree. Family members come together every year around Christmas time to set up their Christmas tree. It is such a frequently applied tradition that around 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold annually in the United States alone. 

It does not matter if you use a natural or artificial tree; setting it up and decorating it is always fun. As an old Pagan tradition, the Christmas tree is not only a significant event in houses but in cities. Most of the major Christmas markets and main squares are known for their glamorous and monumental trees. Plus, the first lightning of the tree is a fabulous occasion for thousands of people.  

Since we are speaking of Christmas decorations, home and yard ornaments cannot be missed. Yard ornamentation wars can get so serious that the electricity bill to power the lights sometimes climbs astronomically. However, it is definitely worth it to feel the pride when your house is much more lustrous than your neighbor’s. Also, if you are decorating your home, you cannot forget the stockings. Don’t you have a fireplace? Then get creative and hang them somewhere else around the house. 

Bizarre Christmas Traditions Worldwide 

Now that we all decorated our houses, binge-watched Christmas movies, made Gingerbread houses, kissed under the mistletoe, and exchanged gifts, it is time for some unusual Christmas traditions from around the world. Back your bags, we are going to Germany!

The Christmas tradition is believed to have begun in Germany around the 16th century. Even though Pagans have a similar ritual, the Germans’ version is pretty similar to modern Christmas trees, with one exception. The tradition is to hang up and hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and give a gift to the child that finds the pickle. 

Let’s go on with the Christmas tree customs. This time, we are visiting Ukraine. The lovely Ukrainians decorate their trees with spiderwebs! It is thought that this tradition gets its roots from a tale. Once upon a time, there was a widow who struggled to make ends meet and could not afford to decorate a proper tree for her kids. The spiders pitied her and embellished the tree with their webs. Icky, but touching for sure!

According to a kaleidoscopic Norwegian legend, Christmas Eve is the special day when evil spirits and witches fly around for shenanigans. Since brooms are used by witches’ for transportation, Norwegian families hide their brooms before Christmas Eve. Poor witches need to take a cab home!

Another witch tale is from Italy. Instead of Santa, Italians have Befana, a witch that fills the children’s stockings with candy and leaves them wonderful presents if they’ve been good. Christmas is celebrated on the 5th of January in Italy, and families leave out treats and wine to Befana, just like many leave cookies and milk for friendly Santa Clause. 

In Austria, there is a tradition that is much scarier than witches. It is believed that St Nicholas has an evil enemy named Krampus, that is a demon-like creature with one goal in mind: to punish naughty children before Christmas. Children fear Krampus a lot since if he catches them, he will drag them to hell. Such a nice way to give children nightmares!

This tradition is for unmarried women. Every year on Christmas Eve, Single Czech women throw one of their shoes over their shoulders as they stand with their backs to the door. It is assumed that they will get married within the year if it lands with the toe towards the door.

But if it lands with the heel towards the door, they will have to go through another year without a husband. Do not worry, ladies! Single and child-free women are statistically the happiest compared to the ones who tied the knot. 

Overall, each culture has its extraordinary way of celebrating Christmas. While Christmas is a holiday celebrated by Christians, many non-Christian cultures also praise it with their own little twists. At the end of the day, it is a time when the family comes together to feast in joy, exchange gifts and make new memories. There is no specific way to glorify Christmas, and it is always fun to embrace other cultures!

Merry Christmas, Everyone! As the Jeton Wallet family, we wish you hope, peace and lots of Christmas cookies this holiday season!

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