Christmas morning you and your family may be sitting around the chopped down tree you dragged in your house and hung small objects on while you tear through merchandize you purchased for each other, and wrapped in colorful paper. These weird traditions aren’t the only ones we are going to have a tough time explaining to the aliens when they get here. I say “weird” because depending on what part of the world you’re in they may seem strange just as other traditions will be strange seeming to you. Take for example the Austrian tradition of The Krampus; where on December 5th a demon arrives to punish the naughty children, spanking them with sticks and swooping them up in burlap sacks to drag to hell. Austrians honor Krampus, the antithesis of St. Nicolaus with elaborate costumes and parades where everyone gets drunk and chase after children. However Krampus is nothing compared to some of these other “strange” Christmas traditions.
The Japanese Eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas
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People place advanced orders to reserve a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner in Japan. Now you might be wondering if the Japanese KFC has some sort of fancy menu items that they don’t include with the slop on the menu in other KFC’s. No, it’s the same greasy mess of diabetes that you know and love. However in Japan eating KFC on Christmas became a tradition a few decades ago when American military personnel stationed in Japan were in search for traditional turkeys or a Christmas goose and had to supplant it meal deal of the colonel’s best approximation of chicken. Now it is a full blown tradition with people lining up to get the good stuff. How has this tradition not caught on in ‘Merica?
In The Netherlands Santa Has a Slave
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The Dutch celebrate the tale of Santa Claus by giving him a slave… a slave named Zwarte Piet or “Black Peter” who steals naughty Dutch children… and takes them to Spain (I guess Dutch kids really don’t like Spain?) The part that gets a little weird for some people is that the Dutch dress up as Zwarte Piet in full black face makeup with giant afro wigs. To try and quell any protests that the holiday character is racist, the Dutch have started to amend the story saying that “Black Peter” really just has chimney soot on his face. Well that’s much better, so Santa is a modern day human trafficker of some guy with soot all over his face. I’m not judging!
Venezuelan Christmas Roller Derby to Church!
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From December 16th until Christmas eve in Caracas, Venezuela everyone roller skates to church for mass. The town even goes as far as to close the roads in the morning so everyone can safely roller skate. The tradition has been going on for years and it makes a fun way for everyone to get to church on time. The worshippers make sure to take their skates off before entering the church, which is good because no one wants to fall and break something right before JC’s birthday.
In Iraq They Celebrate Christmas with a BonFire
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There are few Christians in Iraq, but the ones that are there try to get noticed with a giant bonfire on Christmas Eve that is lit in front of their house. The wood for fire is traditionally a stack of thorns and it is used due to the belief that the way the bonfire burns can determine the future of the family who burned it. If the bonfire burns all the way to the ground, the family will have good luck for the coming year. Hopefully the bonfire burned through from the previous year and that luck carries over so that this year’s Christmas bonfire doesn’t burn the house down!
Estonians Go to a Sauna On Christmas Eve
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Now this is a tradition I can get behind. This one feels like someone made it up because they like to go to the sauna and relax, rather than spend time with their family. (Maybe the same guy in Japan who wanted to eat KFC for Christmas) Estonians visit the sauna on Christmas Eve.
I say since America is the melting pot of the world that in the USA we should combined all these traditions into one super crazy Christmas tradition where we get on roller-skates while eating KFC and are chased by Krampus and Zwarte Piet, jumping over the bon fire and into the sauna!