Mancuso's Florist Blog

Mancuso's Florist Blog

Posted by Mancuso's Florist on December 7, 2020 | Last Updated: January 8, 2021 Christmas Events Flowers Holiday Decor Holiday Flowers Holiday Gifts Holidays

11 Curious Christmas Customs from Abroad

Over the years, cultures across the globe have embraced the idea of celebrating Christmas but sprinkling in their own unique traditions and customs along the way. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or something else, you’ll get a kick out of these interesting and odd traditions from afar.

Men dressed up as Krampus

Austria – Krampus

St. Nick’s evil counterpart, the half-goat, half-man demon searches the streets at night in the days leading up to Christmas looking for naughty children. If Krampus finds a badly-behaved child, he will either beat him with sticks or stuff him into a wicker basket to cart off to the underworld. A popular folktale in this region and in Germany, it’s celebrated by people dressed up as Krampus clanging chains and bells and scaring children.

Large straw goat

Sweden – Yule Goat

Dating back to the 11th century, the Swedish Yule Goat is believed to have been a companion of Saint Nicholas. Sometime in the 19th century, the goat became a giver of gifts, and residents would dress up as a goat when delivering them. Since the 1960s, towns across Sweden erect large straw goats in a central square as a symbol of Christmastime. In the town of Gavle, it’s become a bit of tradition for the goat to be burned down by vandals after Christmas, which has happened 29 times there in the last 50 years.

Latvia – Mummers in Disguise

It’s a Christmas tradition in Latvia for mummers, which are street actors,to disguise themselves as animals or macabre characters. They’ll then go from door to door singing traditional songs to drive away evil spirits. In return, families are expected to offer the mummers drinks and food all while they stay in costume and even disguise their voices so as not to be recognized.

Christmas Witch

Italy – La Befana

Italian children receive gifts from Santa Claus each December 24th, Christmas Eve, but they also receive gifts when they are visited by an old witch – La Befana – on January 5th, which is the eve of the Epiphany. A centuries old tale tells the story of the witch Befana who decided to not visit the baby Jesus and deliver gifts to him as the three wise men did. Regretting her decision, she went to deliver a gift to baby Jesus after all but could not find him, so instead she decided to deliver gifts to all children who leave wine and food out for her.

broom in corner

Norway – Hiding Brooms

According to an old Norwegian folktale, witches and evil spirits will come into your home on Christmas Eve and wreak havoc if they find a broom flying about your house mischievously. In order to prevent this, families will hide all of their brooms to keep them from being stolen.

KFC Japan Santa

Japan – Kentucky Fried Chicken

Christmas isn’t really celebrated in Japan and is considered more of a secular holiday along the lines of Halloween and Thanksgiving. However, there is one tradition that has become firmly established across the country and that’s having KFC for dinner on Christmas Day. Families will put their fried chicken order in months in advance to make sure they can partake in the Colonel’s fried goodness.

Giant lit up lanterns

Philippines – Giant Lantern Festival

On the Saturday before Christmas, the residents of San Fernando in the Philippines hold the Giant Lantern Festival. There are eleven villages which compete to create the most decorative and elaborate illuminated lantern. They can be as big as 20 feet in diameter and are very colorful with intricate patterns.

Czech Republic – Shoe Throwing

On Christmas Day, it’s traditional for single women in the Czech Republic to toss a shoe over their shoulder toward their front door. If the shoe lands pointing towards the door, then she will get married in the next year.

13 yule lads

Iceland – Yule Lads

On each of the thirteen days leading up to Christmas, 13 Yule Lads, who are troll-like tricksters, visit well-behaved children and leave small gifts or candy in their shoes. Each Yule Lad has their own personality and love to play pranks, such as putting rotting potatoes in the shoes of naughty children. With names like Pot-Scraper, Door-Slammer, and Sausage-Swiper, these lads clearly have fun wreaking harmless havoc across the country.

Finland – Christmas Eve Saunas

On Christmas Eve, it’s traditional for the residents of Finland to have a session in the sauna to connect with departed ancestors. Afterward, they head outside to celebrate while the spirits of their ancestors take their place in the sauna.

Pickle Ornament

Germany – Christmas Pickle

Christmas trees in Germany include a particularly unique ornament – a pickle ornament! It is hidden deep within the branches of the tree on Christmas Eve and the first child to spot it receives a special present.

We hope you’ve enjoyed your trip across the globe exploring different Christmas traditions. Still shopping for Christmas presents? We’ve got you covered – give the gift of flowers, they’re the perfect gift every time.