Holiday Traditions From Around The World

Festive+celebrations+can+be+joined+in+most+countries%2C+even+in+many+of+the+countries+where+Christianity+is+not+the+religion+of+the+majority+of+people

Credit: Victoria Baldor

Festive celebrations can be joined in most countries, even in many of the countries where Christianity is not the religion of the majority of people

Victoria Baldor, Junior Staff Writer

The holidays can be a crazy time filled with gift giving, secret santa, and lots and lots of baking. More important than the gifts given or received, are the traditions particular to various regions ranging far and wide. From South Africa to Austria, there are countries whose traditions are quite different from those here in the United States.

Bad Santa meet Krampus: a horrific beast who comes around during Christmas time to turn the naughty kids into nice ones. This tradition is accepted in Austria as Santa Claus’ counterpart, a devil who swats at naughty kids with branches and hauls them down to the underworld. In Austria, Santa has the task of rewarding all of the nice kids on christmas, bearing gifts and sweets, while Krampus punishes the bad children on Christmas Day.

Japanese families often eat KFC on Christmas Eve, a strange tradition started in 1974 due to an advertisement. KFC began its “Christmas Chicken” campaign because the impossibility of finding turkey anywhere in Japan on Christmas Eve. Now it sells a full christmas dinner, complete with chicken, wine, cake and champagne, all around $40. Junior Hannah Melendez feels,”it would be strange to have this tradition in the US.” It has gained so much recognition in Japan that guests now must pre-order their chicken dinner, in order to get their hands on a full christmas meal.

These days, KFC records its highest sales volume each year on Christmas eve
Credit: Victoria Baldor
These days, KFC records its highest sales volume each year on Christmas Eve

Many Americans hang ornaments that reminisce on past travels and experiences, but Germans hang one very odd ornament every year, a pickle. The pickle is hung the night before Christmas, once the children are fast asleep. Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle ornament receives a prize of some sort. The tradition first began in the 1880s in Germany when a women sold ornaments of all different fruits and vegetables. Pickles were among the selection and what started with one family’s small tradition turned into a widespread and known tradition among Germany. Even freshman Blakely Byrd admits, “my family has done this tradition for a few years now and its always so much fun!”

American city of Berrien Springs, MI has an annual pickle festival held during the early part of December.
Credit: Victoria Baldor
American city of Berrien Springs, MI has an annual pickle festival held during the early part of December.

Norway’s Christmas tradition is filled with fear and superstition. The night before Christmas before anyone falls asleep, the family hides all their brooms in case a witch were to come. Years ago, Norwegians believed evil spirits came out on Christmas night looking for any possible broom to ride on. Since then Norwegians have hidden all their brooms, sometimes even mops, un hopes that it’ll ward off any witch or evil spirit.

Citizens of Caracas, Venezuela attend mass just as many Catholics do on Christmas Eve, but instead of walking in normally, pedestrians journey to mass on roller skates. Not only is roller skating encouraged on this day, but the city goes as far as closing off streets, allowing citizens to easily commute to church in their roller skates.

In Venezuela, religious celebrations for Christmas kick off on Dec. 16.
Credit: Victoria Baldor
In Venezuela, religious celebrations for Christmas kick off on Dec. 16.

Whether in North America or Europe, there are traditions that originate in every continent and country. Senior Jaime Jurado shares, “Christmas is my favorite time of year and the best part is the different traditions every family holds.” Christmas traditions can pertain to a particular country or city such as whoever finds the pickle first in Germany or who roller skates to church, but there are also traditions that originate within families. Comment below your favorite family Christmas tradition!

 

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Credit: Victoria Baldor