9 Interesting Christmas Traditions From Europe and Asia!

outofthisworldchristmas

Every Christian ethnic group has a variety of different Christmas traditions. Sadly, I’m only familiar with Greek and Americans traditions. That’s why I would love to celebrate Christmas in a different country every year. Since that’s ridiculously expensive, and because my parents would probably never speak to me again if I abandoned them on Christmas, I decided to do a little research to find some of the most interesting Christmas traditions around the world.

1. Belgium - While Americans are told that you won’t get any presents if you’re a bad girl or boy, Belgians take it a step further. They actually have two Santa Clauses, St. Nicholas and Pere Noel. The former pretty much stalks the children to make sure they are being good. Then he tells Pere Noel which kids were good, and which were bad. The good get presents, but the poor, little bad ones just get twigs. So much for coal!

2. Portugal - This tradition is very spiritual, but it probably creeps a few people out. On Christmas morning most Portuguese have a traditional meal called consoda. The whole family attends, and we’re not just talking about those who are still with us. The dead are also invited, and there are extra places set for them at the table.

3. Austria - American children are afraid that if they’re bad, they won’t get any presents. But if you’re a child living in Austria, you probably have a different fear. In an attempt to scare the naughty kids all through December, some individuals in Austria dress up as the Krampus, a demonic creature that has cow bells and other creepy accessories. He walks through the streets, and I think it’s safe to say that the kids aren’t the only ones freaking out.

4. Ukraine - If you’re scared of spiders, skip this one! Fake spiders always make an appearance on Ukrainian Christmas trees, and if you see a spider web on Christmas morning, you’re supposed to have good luck. This comes from an old folk tale about an old poor woman who couldn’t afford Christmas decorations. She woke up on Christmas morning, she found that the spiders decorated her tree with their webs.  When the sun  shone on the tree, all of the webs turned into silver and gold.

5. Czech Republic – If you’re an unmarried woman living in the Czech Republic, you’ll want to keep reading. On Christmas Eve, these woman try to predict their relationship statuses for the next year. All they do is stand with their backs to the door. Then the toss one of their shoes over their shoulders. If the shoe lands with the toe facing the door, that means they’ll get married next year. But if the heal faces the door…well you get the point.

6. Japan - Every family seems to have their own traditional family dinner, but you may be surprised to hear that for  many Japanese, Christmas dinner means Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s so popular that you might need to make a reservation!

7. Germany – I love my pickle ornament, but I never knew the story behind it. Here it is! Instead of a star to top their trees or maybe an angel, Germans put their glass pickle ornaments on their tree last. The ornament is hidden away, and on Christmas morning, the family must search for the ornament. Whoever find it will get an extra present and will have good luck for the next year.

8. Slovakia - Many Christmas Eve dinners are relatively calm when you compare them to the meals in Slovakia. At the beginning of the dinner, the head of the table throws Loksa (bread, water and poppy seeds) onto the ceiling in hopes that it will stick. The more it sticks, the better crop he or she will have for the following year.

9. Norway - Hide your brooms on Christmas Eve! An old Norwegian tradition revolves around witches and evil spirits. Supposedly, they would steal brooms on the holiday so they could ride around the night sky. Though the belief has faded over time, that doesn’t stop the Norwegians from hiding their brooms and mops before they hit the hay!

Here are some delicious ethnic Christmas cookies for the holiday season:

Sesame Italian Cookies
Spiced Honey Cookies
Koriabiedes
Norwegian Zimmetstern Cookies
Irish Ginger Snaps
German Chocolate Bars

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