There is something special about the last months of year. It’s cold and there is festive spirit all around. Beside it has to be extraordinary this year. Still wondering why? Its Christmas and New Year doubled with excitement of not having to sacrifice our festivities because of doomsday hoax. Thank Santa for that, He really saved the big day.
Let’s not waste any more time talking about the hoax. It’s Christmas! Even the mention of its name fills everyone up with exuberance and vigor. So much to do, buy everyone presents, decorate the house, the tree, and catch up with old pals. And of course wonder what your parents are going to get you this time, if you still lie on the receiving edge. But this time we bring you an exclusive Christmas and introduce you to some of the weirdest traditions followed around the world, than just sitting with family and having dinner.
Here is the list of top 10 strangest Christmas traditions:
10. Christmas log
We are pretty much aware about burning the log in fireplace on the eve but there is another trend associated with wooden logs. It is basically at Catalonian tradition also known as caga tió or defecating log (English). It involves carving out characters on a log complete with a grinning face and accessorized by a hat. Then it is made to stand on the dining table during the fortnight leading to Christmas. Until then it has to be taken care of and fed with sweets, nuts and fruits. Then on the Christmas eve people beat up these logs with sticks to shed out whatever they fed them in addition to singing traditional songs. Fancy that!
9. Donald duck cartoons
However hilarious it may sound but it is true. In Sweden, the entire family gathers around TV at 3 o clock to watch “Donald duck and his friends wish you a merry Christmas”. The most popular episode is the one in which an Aracuan bird bedevils the duck. It is so popular that people know the dialogues by heart. The tradition dates back to 1959 when the country had only a few TV sets and since then the Disney special has become a part of their Christmas culture.
8. Visiting a cemetery
It sounds absurd to visit a place like this when you are supposed to be having a family dinner and singing happy Christmas carols. But this is a tradition in Finland. People visit cemeteries to remember their deceased relatives and friends and light candles on their graves. A place like graveyard is so frequented by people during the eve that some of them have special areas of candle lightening and cops have to be on toes to manage traffic around the cemeteries.
7. The Gavle goat
This is a Scandinavian tradition. The significance of the Yule goat varies from place to place. For some it is like Santa, bringing them gifts. For some it is a symbol of sacrifice while some prefer it for playing pranks. Whatever might be the reason, it is a part of their tradition now. In the Swedish town of Gavle, an effigy of goat is erected over 13 m tall and then a section of people suggest ways to destroy it. The tradition started in 1966 when the first goat was mysteriously set on fire. Ever since then some prepare for its demise while some think of ways to ‘save’ the effigy. One thing is for sure, it has surely increased the tourism graph of the area.
6. The pickle ornament
It is a German tradition where the last ornament to be decorated on the Christmas tree is a Christmas pickle. By the way it is not real pickle, it is an ornament made from blown glass and passed from one generation to next. The trick is to hide it in a hard to find place and its green color does an excellent job in camouflaging it. The first child who finds the pickle gets good luck for one complete year and of course a special gift. Nowadays it is prevalent in many countries.
Popular in Latvia, mummers or people disguised in animal masks or death spirits go from one home to another asking for food and blessing the homes they visit. Their journeys are accompanied with a lot of music and dancing. However it is not Christmas they celebrate but winter solstice. Their practices are based on Pagan times when people employed dark magic to persuade the sun to return before daylight completely disappeared. Their festivities last for 3 days starting from 22nd December and ending on 25th. In Britain their dancing is accompanied with small dramas depicting struggle between sun and the forces of winter.
4. Spider web
It is prevalent in Ukraine. It is quite similar to the German tradition of ornament pickle. The Christmas tree is decorated the usual way with all sorts of lights with an exception of a spider web. Whoever spots the web is greeted with good luck. The weird tradition has a legend associated to it. It is said that once a poor widow mother couldn’t buy Christmas decorations for her tree. But in the morning, to her surprise she found out that a spider had decorated the tree with its web! I don’t know if any part of it is true but people have got to make up something, right?
I am sure you know about the evil twin of Santa. The one is nothing like our beloved old man. Known with various names across the globe. You must have heard him as Black Peter. Sound familiar? Of course he is a result of Pagan beliefs with hooves, horns and a monstrous tongue. Krampus punishes the children who have been naughty or mischievous swatting them with switches and typing up with rusty chains and then dragging them down the fireplace. Mostly popular in parts of Europe, Krampus night is celebrated on 5th December and people wear masks and roam the streets to beat up someone with sticks.
2. Relationship status
To what limits people do not go to find that one special person for them. Well Czech women are not far behind. The unmarried women have a special way to predict the fortune of their relationship for the next year. Here is how to do it: stand with your back to door and toss a shoe of yours over a shoulder. If it falls with toe facing the door the luck is in your favor and you’ll get married next year, if not then better luck next time.
1. Snap Dragon
Flap dragon or Snatch dragon was a game where people tried to snatch raisins out of a bowl of burning brandy. Now that is something really daredevil. Played in USA, Canada and UK, the game involves putting raisins in the mouth to put them out. The fun part is while the game is on, lights are turned off and the winner can be recognized with blue flames dripping from his mouth and hands. It was at its peak from 16th to 19th century but gradually its popularity died down because of the risks involved.