Christmas is Coming…
Christmas is the time of the year, when the world is a lot merrier, and even the winter breeze has its own charm. Though its snowy in many parts of the world, Christmas celebrations spread their warmth all around. More so, it is the time, when kids are filled with ecstasy (after all, it’s the time to get a rotten potato or a gift) and the elders are engrossed with the festivities and rituals.
Since, Christmas is celebrated worldwide, there are many traditional folklores and some unique yet funny traditions. There are ample variations and interesting stories with these customs. Let’s have some fun reading the ones, I rejoiced.
Did you know that “Santa Claus”, is not a Christmas character all around the world?
5 Unique Christmas Traditions around the world :
1. Iceland :
This, one of the coldest country in the world, famous for its Northern Lights(Aurora Borealis), has the tale of 13 Yule Lads. Christmas is often known as “Yule” in Iceland. And these 13 Yule lads are quite opposite to the Santa’s portrayal. It is assumed that these Yule lads live in the snowy mountain lands with their troll parents and a big black cat, referred as a Christmas Cat. Their nasty mother and the Cat loves to eat naughty kids. Errr…. But that cat eats away only those who didn’t get any new piece of clothes before Christmas.
Well, that’s a perfect way to get something new on festivities “mandatorily”, so that you’re not eaten by the black cat. Quite hilarious!
But, over the recent years, these bloodthirsty mischievous lads have turned somewhat compassionate. Now they are more into tricking people. The first Yule lad arrives on 12th December and the last Yule on 23rd December. Along with playing funny tricks, these lads have got the role of giving gifts to children [as well]. After 24th Dec, Yule lads return back to their highlands one by one.
So, In Iceland, Children put their shoes on the windowsill, and they get gifts from each of the 13 lads when they visit their towns. But, only the good children. The naughty ones might receive a rotten potato, lol!
2. France :The Pooping Log of Catalan region :
Well, one of the cutest tradition of Christmas is writing our secret letters to Santa, right? And how about if you get a response back from Santa? Well, here all children who have written a letter to Père Noël, receive a postcard back, exchanging the greetings! Isn’t it adorable?
Also, the Catalan region of France has quite a bizarre tradition of Pooping Log, Caga Tió . Its a small log and kids decorate it with a smiley face, red Catalan hat. They take care of this Poo log, ensuring that it is warm enough in the blanket and is fed with Turron everyday. It is assumed that the desserts on Christmas Eve are the courtesy of Caga Tió. After the Christmas dinner, kids are given the stick, with which they hit this poo log, singing a special Caga Tió song and it in turns poops out lots of sweets, desserts for kids. So, it is similar to receiving gifts from Santa:)
Such a fantasy it is for kids!
Have a look at this funny tradition here :
3. Austria :
In the folklores around central Europe, “Krampus” is the characteristic figure, described as half goat and half demon. In Austria, it is believed that St Nicholas is accompanied by the Krampus. Krampus, who is one of the most creepy characters, with fangs, long tongue, horns, is assumed to punish children who have misbehaved. While Saint Nicholas is assumed to reward good children. This happens on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, few days before Christmas, on 5th December.
Krampus Parade is also quite famous there.
Sounds one of the most blood-curdling parade, isn’t it?
4. Canadian Mummers :
Though, Canadians also say that Canada is the country of Santa Claus (And so does Finland natives say), but the Santa Claus parade of Toronto, is the most famous and largest parade. It is estimated that more than 2000 people participate in this yearly parade on Christmas, gaining lots of Media attention.
Beyond this parade, Mummering is one of the old tradition, more famous in small towns and Newfoundland.
12 days, starting from 26th December, mummers wear masks, humps, various costumes and disguise their original identity. A group of mummers visit various homes in their community, knocking. If they are welcomed into a house, the group of mummers then dance, play music, crack jokes mischievously . But the most challenging part is for the hosts to identify the mummers before offering them foods and drinks.
It is said that if the hosts are unable to identify, they need to disguise themselves and be the part of mummers group and set off for next home.
Doesn’t that sounds quite a fun? Atleast, I wanted to be a mummer.
5. Christmas Yule Land : Finland
Well, like most of us, we too believe that Finland is the home of Santa Claus. It is assumed that Santa lives in Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle. Lapland has an address which received letters from all over the world for Santa Claus. There is also a Theme park in that ares, called Christmas Land.
But the most interesting part of Finland’s celebration is the Yule and Christmas Goat. The tales cites that once there was a scary yule goat who always asked for presents from people and never ever gave them any gift back. Yule goat is a part of celebrations in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Yule goat is made up of straw and has red ribbons. With time, the Yule goat started giving gifts and later this responsibility was taken over by “Joulupukki”, the Christmas Goat, and at times Santa is referred as Joulupukki.
While in Sweden, Galve Goat [A huge straw goat] is created. It is more than 40ft tall. Once built, people wait to see, whether the goat will make it till Christmas or not. As over the years, vandals have often targeted the huge straw goat by trying to burn it down. Locals try to protect the goat via various measure, but for most of the years it has got burnt completely.
It’s one of the most talked about tradition and people visit to see the Yule Celebrations and attempt to see whether Yule goat survives or not.
How did you find these traditions? Were you startled by some of these cultures?
Let’s start rejoicing,