Everyone celebrates the holidays differently, but across the globe, even the same holidays can take on an entirely different guise. Check out these winter holiday traditions!
SPAIN - Gather round with the family to enjoy a magnificent dinner for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on December 8th, and be sure to bring little Tio de Nadal, the Christmas Log! This log is decorated with legs, a face, and a cute red hat, and is tucked in at the end of the night with a blanket! Be sure to leave some of your feast out for the little log, as it’s known to get hungry at night, and in return, you’ll find presents wrapped in the blanket in the morning.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA - Break out the fireworks before the sun rises and set them off, not to disturb your neighbors, but to help rouse the whole city of Caracas. Everyone pulls out their roller skates and floods the streets, many of which are closed to anticipate the sudden influx of skating residents, as they all make their way to the nearest church for Christmas Mass. This might be the only time your Sunday best includes wheels!
WALES - Nobody knows what day the bleached skull of a horse will show up at their door, cheerfully singing songs, but most people in Wales expect it sometime between Christmas and late January. The old ritual of Mari Lwyd, the Grey Mare, calls for one person to dress up as a horse, using an actual horse skull, gather five or six friends together, and go from house to house singing. A quick rhythm and singing contest tears through the town with Mari Lwyd as the lead, and she often wins. The ritual is meant to bring good luck, and residents or pub owners often compensate for being visited by offering food or drink.
NORWAY - Every Christmas Eve, Norwegians take all of their brooms and hide them due to a tradition leftover from Norway’s pagan days. Legend says witches and evil spirits would come out on that night each year, so brooms were hidden, and when guns became a bit more accessible, it was even common for families to fire a warning shot into the air to deter any ghoulish visitor from dropping in.
GUATEMALA - On December 7th in Guatemala, the neighborhood collects garbage and refuse, anything on their property they wish to rid themselves of, and piles it in a heap in the middle of the street. At the top of the garbage pile is an effigy of the devil himself, sporting a crown, and then the whole thing is set on fire. Once the devil goes up in flames, taking away all of the negativity and evil spirits that have been cleaned out of the homes with him, the Christmas celebrations can begin!
JAPAN - While Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, many still celebrate it by visiting the nearest KFC and eating together with friends and family. The tradition was accidentally started in the 1970s when KFC released a special Christmas dinner on their menu for homesick expats. Now, the lines get so long and KFCs everywhere get so crowded, it’s suggested that those wishing to celebrate place their holiday order two months in advance!
What holiday traditions do you, your family, and friends honor? Are they passed down and time-honored? Are you trying something new? In keeping with the holiday spirit, book now to join Where2Next? Travel, LLC on our Paris Royal Holiday + Christmas Market journey - currently set for December 12 - 20, 2021. See our sample itinerary for this trip HERE.
ENJOYING PARIS AT HOLIDAY TIME
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