From Christmas tree lights to Brussels sprouts, Christmas has many strange traditions that are very different even in some neighboring countries. On the occasion of this festive time, we have selected some of the most bizarre customs from around the world. It is true that some traditions may seem quite familiar to you, but to other nations of the world it may seem rather strange or even scary.
Venezuela: Rollers to the Church
In the capital city of Caracas Catholics are attending masses at the churches every day from December 16 to 24 as in many parts of the world. And nothing would be strange if not for one fact. Venezuelan people travel to the church on roller skates. By eight o’clock in the morning, the streets are blocked from car traffic, and the night before, the children tie the string to their finger and throw the other end of the string through the window while going to bed. In the morning, a large company of skaters touches all the strings hanging by the windows while they are skating to the churches.
Ukraine: Cobwebs on a Christmas Tree
A spider web is a weird thing that we usually do not associate with Christmas at all. However, in Ukraine, among all the traditional Christmas tree decorations, you will see a fake spider and cobweb. Ukrainians believe that the cobweb and spider hidden in the Christmas tree will bring happiness to anyone who finds it. There is one folk tale that says that an unhappy, poor mother was once in no way able to buy decorations for the family Christmas tree. However, getting up on Christmas morning, she saw that the spider had adorned the Christmas tree beautifully with its web and thus made the holidays happy.
Japan: Junk Food for Christmas
All KFC restaurants in Japan are totally full for holidays and you must make a reservation very early if you want to get your table also. Those who have been visiting Japan for extended periods of time know that ordering a fried chicken from a fast food restaurant takes place much earlier than Christmas is coming. Unlike the traditional ham or turkey favorite in many countries, the Japanese have the tastiest roasted chicken at Christmas. Even though less than one percent of the Japanese are Christians, the KFC restaurant has managed to persuade the Japanese to eat roast chicken for Christmas thanks to excellent management and a powerful promotional campaign.
Spain: A Pooping Shepherd in A Nativity Scene
In some parts of Spain, there is a very long tradition of constructing various types of nativity scenes in Bethlehem. However, together with the traditional figures of the nativity scenes as Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, there you can see a shepherd who is pooping in the corner and he is called Caganer. This character is traditionally a young man with his pants down to his knees. It is usually placed in the darkest corner because it needs privacy. The pooping shepherd has been a traditional figure of the Spanish nativity scenes for several hundred years and that is certainly not irony.