Top 10 Rare & Funny Christmas Traditions In Some Countries That May Surprise You
Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again, despite of the pandemic. And Christmas comes with some traditions like attending Misa de Gallo or dawn mass for 9 consecutive mornings prior to December 25 like what we practice in the Philippines.
In all of my sailing years, I have found out that no two nations are the same when it comes to celebrating Christmas. It was very fascinating to have seen how various cultures enjoy this distinct season. Some spend it with parties and gift giving while others observe it very strange and let’s take a look at the top 10 rare and funny Christmas traditions of some countries that I’ve been to as a seafarer.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum..a pickle in the tree in GERMANY
Frohe Weihnachten!!! Way back to the 16th century, Germany was credited with introducing the Christmas tree tradition which eventually spread throughout the world. So it comes as a no surprise if this country still holds up to this day a quirky practice related to the Yuletide season. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition in Germany is to hide a pickle in the branches of the Yuletide tree and the first kid who finds the pickle will receive a gift.
Jingle bells, it’s roller skating all the way to Church in VENEZUELA
Just like the other Catholic countries in the world, Venezuelans attend a Mass of 9 mornings called Misa de Aguinaldo (or Misa de Gallo in the Philippines) until December 24. And in the capital city of Caracas, it is normal for people to strap on their roller skates and glide to Midnight Mass on the 24th.
It isn’t clear how this top rare and funny Christmas tradition started but some sources said that it was an alternative to sledding. Since Venezuela is on the southern hemisphere and in December, it’s summer down there and the temperature reaches up to 30 degrees Centigrade, so they roller skate instead. These days, many streets in Caracas are closed to traffic until 8 a.m. to ensure that the skating faithful can get to the Church safely.
Jolly Old St. Sinterklaas in THE NETHERLANDS
Vrolijk Kersfest!!! Believed to be living in Spain, Sinterklaas arrives at the Port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands on December 5 just in time for St. Nicholas Day on December 6. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition of the Dutch, it is said that he will be delivering gifts to children, leaving the goodies inside a shoe that has been left on the fireplace or by the window sill. So the celebration of Sinterklausvord (Eve of Sinterklaas) is observed in The Netherlands more than the traditional St. Nicholas Day.
He’s gonna find out whose naughty or nice, Nisse is coming in DENMARK
Glaedelig jul!!! Nisse is a goblin (or dwarf) who wants to be fed, and this creature of Scandinavian folk stories has its own versions in Nordic countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark, well the Danes claim it that Nisse originated in their country. And back to Nisse, families in Denmark must offer him a risengrood (sweet rice porridge) on December 24.
A top rare and funny Christmas tradition in Denmark, if they do this he will be good and bring them good fortunes in the next year. Nisse is believed to play tricks to those who do not offer him risengrood and will make life difficult for them in the coming year.
Silver bells..it is julebord time in NORWAY
Called julebord in Norway, Christmas season starts on December 3. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition this is a feast or banquet cum party that is enjoyed by relatives, friends and people in their workplace where traditional Christmas food and alcoholic beverages are served. The julebord which literally translates to “Christmas table” fills up local bars and restaurants throughout the month as well. God jul !!!Come December 23 which is known as Lille Julaften (Little Christmas) families usually decorate their Christmas trees, make a gingerbread house or eat their risengrynsgroot (rice pudding) together.
O Holy Night, it is Noche de los Rabanos in MEXICO
Celebrated every December 23 particularly in Oaxaca, Mexico, carved radishes are displayed by vendors to attract shoppers on their way to Church. Called Noche de los Rabanos which is a top rare and funny Christmas tradition, each year professional artists transform humble radishes here in Oaxaca into nativity scenes or portraits of famous celebrities and other cute creations. Feliz Navidad!!!
Then one foggy Epiphany eve, La Befana, the witch came to ITALY.
Boun Natale!!! On January 5, which is the eve of the Epiphany (Feast of the Three Wise Kings) children are also visited by La Befana the witch in Italy. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition in this country, it is based on a legend in which La Befana turned down an invitation from the Three Wise Men to pay a visit to Gesu Bambino (Baby Jesus) in the manger and regretted her decision. Up to these days, it is believed that she still flies around in Italy on her broomstick looking for Baby Jesus and dropping down gifts to kids to make up for her mistake. Children in return put out a glass of vino and some biscotti for her as it is said that she sweeps before she leaves.
Hey Santa, Dax again…but you can send him a letter to CANADA
Admit it or not, there was a time in our childhood days when we used to write a letter for Santa. But did you know he has an actual address and his mailbox is in Canada? A top rare and funny Christmas tradition, if you send him a letter before December 16, regardless of any language and that includes Braille, believe it or not he will reply back. His address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO, Canada. Well it’s free and no need to buy stamps, that includes the zip code of the North Pole. Merry Christmas!!!
‘Tis the season to be jolly on Christmas Eve at the cemetery in FINLAND
Going to the cemetery on a Christmas Eve is not a merry idea but in Finland people visit their dearly departed on this day. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition, it started in the 1900s of visiting fallen soldiers after the Winter War and this Kedri practice was moved to Christmas. Spooky it may seem but the view of candles lighting up the dark winter sky is a sight to behold in this part of the world. Huskaa joulua!!!
And a 12-course meal for Christmas Eve in POLAND
Wesotich Swiat!!! While we start playing Christmas songs in the Philippines as early as September 1, in Poland however they don’t sing Christmas carols until December 24. Polish people start to sing koledy after the Midnight Mass of December 24 named Pasterka is finished. And since Poland is also a Catholic country like the Philippines, Christmas is considered the biggest merriment of the year.
In the 4 Sundays of Advent, the Polish bake piernik or gingerbread to commemorate the season. Come Christmas Eve which is called Wigilia in Poland, families share a 12-course meal. A top rare and funny Christmas tradition, this is a representation of the 12 apostles and the center of the banquet is the carp which is a sign of good fortune and the other favorite food is barszcz pierogi or Polish dumpling in beet soup.
With all the different ways in celebrating Christmas, this just shows that our existence is an intertwine of outlooks and that no two cultures are the same. But at the end of the day all the we want on this special day is a get together with our loved ones or to spread love and kindness to the community where we belong. Maligayang Pasko sa lahat.
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