Do you just love Christmas? We sure do too! The magic of this holiday spreads across the world, with each country developing its own traditions and customs. Read on to discover how other cultures celebrate the winter holidays.
Whether you are celebrating a religious holiday like Christmas or Hanukkah or you just like to spend quality time with your family and friends, surely there’s a lot to love about the winter holidays. The fact that nations all over the world have created their own Christmas traditions adds to the attractiveness of the holiday season.
But what are some of the interesting traditions that people keep to this day?
Krampus, St. Nicholas' wicked helper, scares children on city streets. This isn't Halloween, though. According to Austrian folklore, Krampus is claimed to kidnap the naughtiest kids and take them away in his sack, while St. Nicholas blesses good small boys and girls. Young men dress up as the Krampus during the first week of December, especially on the night before St. Nicholas Day, scaring young children with chains and bells.
KFC Christmas Dinner, Japan
In Japan, Christmas has never been a major holiday. Apart from a few minor, secular customs like gift-giving and light displays, Christmas is still essentially a recent concept in the nation. In recent years, the Japanese came up with a rather new, peculiar tradition: eating a KFC dinner for Christmas. Sounds fun, right?
The Yule Lads, Iceland
13 cunning, troll-like characters come out to play in Iceland in the 13 days before Christmas. Over the course of the 13 nights running up to Christmas, the Yule Lads (also known as jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar in Icelandic) visit youngsters all over the nation. Children put their best shoes by the window each Yuletide night, and a different Yule Lad comes to visit, leaving gifts for the good girls and boys and rotting potatoes for the bad ones.
The most significant day in December for the majority of Dutch children is the fifth, when Sinterklaas brings them gifts. According to Dutch legend, Sinterklaas resides in Madrid, Spain, and travels to The Netherlands every year to different harbors in order to see as many children as possible. Children sing songs and leave a shoe out by the fireplace or perhaps a windowsill on the night before Sinterklaas visits to give them gifts.
The Goat, Romania
The Goat (Capra) is a performance that has one or more actors disguised as multicolored goat-like creatures who leap and dance to frighten the host while being supported by a choir. Depending on the locale, other carol-singing customs include drums, masks, and a lot of noise. The Bear and the Goat frequently congregate as a sizable band of mask-wearing carolers.
No matter the traditions you celebrate, the winter holidays are a great opportunity to gather with your friends and family, enjoy some good food, and relax. Curious to live abroad and experience different Christmas traditions in real life? Now you can live and work abroad with Placement International!
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