Christmas around the world

By Achint Kaur

Christmas around the world

What Christmas is complete without endless feasts, merry making, sitting around the Christmas tree and waiting for gifts! But did you know there are many other Christmas traditions around the world? Let’s get on our sleighs and tour the world a little bit, shall we?

  • Philippines: Going all out on Christmas? Trust the Philippines to do it! Every year, the city of San Fernando, dubbed as the ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines’ holds the Ligligan Parul or Giant Lantern Festival. Watch as hundreds of dazzling parols (lanterns), consisting of thousands of spinning lights, illuminate the night sky! Magical, we say! 

  • Norway: We knew we needed to clean up the house for family coming over Christmas but the Norwegians take it a step further: by hiding all their brooms! It’s a centuries old belief that witches and evil spirits come out on Christmas eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day, many people still hide their brooms in the house to stop them from being stolen!

  • Austria: We all love Santa & Mrs. Claus but have you seen Krampus!  In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, young men dress up as the Krampus frightening children with clattering chains and bells.

  • Sweden: In Sweden, there's the Gävle Goat, which has been around since 1966. The Gävle Goat is a giant version of a traditional Swedish Christmas straw goat, and was originally meant to attract people to shops and restaurants. It's always placed in the center of Castle Square and is the world's largest straw goat- more than 42 feet high, 23 feet wide, and it weighs 3.6 tons. But this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966 the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – the most recent destruction was in 2016.

  • Ukraine: If you're not a fan of spiders, then you probably won't be a fan of Ukraine's Christmas tradition: decorating Christmas trees with spiders and spider webs. There's a story behind that, of course: according to Ukrainian legend, a poor widow and her children grew a Christmas tree from a pine cone, then realized they did not have anything to decorate it with. When spiders heard the children crying, they decorated their tree with beautiful webs. The spider symbolizes good luck for the new year, so Ukrainians decorate their trees with them (fake ones, thankfully)!

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