Christmas, one of the most anticipated times of the year. Every year, for a few days, the whole world lights up! People are growing smiley, happier and warmer despite the onset of winter (for the Northern Hemisphere of course).
Not all countries celebrate Christmas, although it is often an occasion to reunite the family and have a good time.
From all the Christmas traditions in the world, we have selected 12 often strange, sometimes bizarre but always magical!
1. Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines
The Giant Lantern Festival (Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) takes place every year on the Saturday before Christmas in San Fernando, the “Christmas Capital” of the Philippines. This festival attracts the whole world.
11 villages take part in the “biggest lantern” competition.
The tradition began with lanterns 50 cm in diameter that can now reach 5 m in diameter. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Read also discover the Philippines
2. The Goat of Govelle, Sweden
Since 1966, a huge straw goat has been built in the city centre of Govel, shortly before Christmas. This goat has led to a very special tradition, that of setting it on fire before 31 December. Since its existence, it has been burned 22 times.
3. Krampus, Austria
Krampus is a demon that frightens children before Christmas, one of the strangest Christmas traditions.
A bit like the whipping father, a demon-like creature chases children into the streets, frightens them and punishes the less wise.
4. KFC, Japan
Japan is new to Christmas. Apart from the traditions of gifts and luminous garlands, Japan has decided to create its own tradition… Somewhat foreign: “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii!” Which means “Kentucky for Christmas”!
This tradition comes from a group of expats who wanted to eat turkey for the holidays and found nowhere fell back on the KFC.
5. Saint Nicholas, Germany
Not to be confused with Santa Claus, Nikolaus (Saint Nicholas) travels on a donkey on the night of December 6th. It distributes coins, chocolates, oranges and toys to wise children from all over Germany and especially in the Bavarian region. He also goes to schools, in exchange for a present, the children recite a poem to him, offer a drawing or sing a song.
Travel to Germany
6. In Norway
Centuries back, locals believed that witches were going out on Christmas night. It is from this belief that their tradition of hiding their broom on Christmas Eve comes. Even today, many Norwegians hide their brooms so as not to be robbed.
7. The Flame of the National Menorah, Washington, D.C.
The Jewish religious festival of Hanukkah is celebrated with great fanfare throughout the United States. Since 1979, a huge menorah has been installed for 8 days in front of the White House, next to the Christmas tree. These ceremonies give way to speeches, music, activities for children and the enlightenment of the menorah.
Move to the United States
8. Cities on fire, Colombia
In Colombia, Christmas is much more than simple light decorations. It’s the day of the little candles. December 8 marks the start of the New Year celebrations and on this day all residents place candles and lanterns in front of their homes.
In Venezuela, The Christmas Mass takes a special turn. Indeed, all the inhabitants of the city of Caracas go there by roller blaper.
So steeped in the traditions of the city, the roads are closed to traffic.
10. The Barbecue in Australia
Coinciding with the onset of summer, Christmas in Australia is all about sunshine, barbecues and long days at the beach.
11. The Nine Posadas, Mexico
Christmas is a very important time of year in Mexico. December 16 marks the start of the festivities because this day is the very first of the nine Posadas. A tradition for which Mexicans meet each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas in a different house to ask for shelter. In the program ? Food, Christmas carols and piñatas!
12. Christmas spiders, Ukraine
In Ukraine, Christmas trees are traditionally decorated with spider webs. They are supposed to bring good luck. In other countries, such as Poland and Germany, it is considered good luck to find a spider or a spider’s web in a Christmas tree. We have a special thought for this country, hoping that the conflict will end as soon as possible.
If you decide to spend Christmas in one of these countries, consider taking out travel insurance to make the most of your stay abroad. Mondassur, insurance broker for 20 years, is your ideal contact for finding the travel insurance that suits you best!