Think ‘Christmas’ and we often associate it with decorated trees, carol singing and more food and drink than you could consume in an average week. But what of the more left-field traditions? Here we explore 5 of the most bizarre Christmas customs from elsewhere in the world.
‘Hide the Broom’ – Norway
For many Norwegians, Christmas Eve spells the moment when witches and evil spirits make their way into the world. So rather than leaving food for reindeer, it is common practice to hide all the brooms in the house instead to prevent them from being stolen by any mischievous creatures. This also means no cleaning is to take place on Christmas Eve.
Rollerskating to Church – Venezuela
In the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, locals attend a daily mass each morning in the week leading up to Christmas. Which may seem perfectly normal, apart from the fact that it is customary to travel to church on roller skates. Many of the city’s roads are closed until 8am to ensure safe passage for people to pay tribute to baby Jesus in this rather special way.
Night of the Radishes – Mexico
Here in the UK we like to carve pumpkins at Halloween. But in Mexico, there is a Christmas tradition where the humble radish takes centre stage. Noche de Rabanos, or Night of the Radishes has been going for more than a century and gives locals the perfect opportunity to flex their creative muscles by carving the most intricate Christmas designs into the little red veg. The most extravagant designs are bought up and presented as centrepieces at the Christmas dinner table.
KFC Christmas Dinner – Japan
Yes that’s right. For some strange reason, the people of Japan have taken a recent liking to having KFC for Christmas dinner. The new trend has taken off so successfully that people now have to book in advance if they wish to dine at the famous fast-food joint on Christmas Day. There is even an online service in play where you can order your family bucket ahead of time to get it delivered in style.
Shoe Throwing – Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, Christmas time is a chance for unmarried women to catch a glimpse of their romantic fate whilst standing by a door and throwing a shoe. Superstition says that if the toe points towards the door when it lands, the woman will be married within the year. If it descends heel-first then she will remain single for at least another year.