Christmas is a time of festive cheer, joy and happiness.
It originally came to our attention due to the birth of Jesus Christ. Whilst there will be many Christmas traditions that you are aware of and celebrate – there are many around the world which you will not have heard of.
Some are ancient, some contemporary, whilst others are quite frankly a little bizarre.
1. Father Krampus
In Germany, children who misbehave are not merely threatened with a lump of coal in their stockings, but with stories of a demonic creature called Krampus – who’s said to kidnap all of the naughty children on December the 6th and take them away to his lair.
2. The burning goat
In 1966, a goat made from straw measuring 13-metres high was erected in the town square of Gavle. At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, the straw goat was set alight and burnt to the ground. This tradition lasts over a period of two days and has stuck ever since.
3. Seasonal flowers
In many nations, seasonal flowers and plants such as Christmas cactus, red petal Christmas wreaths, poinsettia, Christmas rose, holly, ivy and mistletoe are placed around the home – some variants are more traditional than others. The Christmas rose is a favorite among the Europeans as it’s linked to the three Wise Men and the shepherds. Madelon, one of the shepherdesses was the only one without a gift to give to the Holy Child. As a result, an angel, seeing how upset she was, brushed away the snow to reveal a beautiful white flower tipped with pink – which has since become known to us as the Christmas rose.
4. Decorative pickles
In the United States, it’s tradition for homeowners to hang a small decorative pickle from the Christmas tree. The first child to find the pickle on Christmas morning is rewarded with an extra gift and good fortune for the year. The tradition is said to have come from the tale of a starving Bavarian soldier who credited his life to the gift of a pickle given to him by a guard on Christmas Eve.
5. A blooming good year
A popular Christmas Czech tradition involves cutting a few branches off a fruit tree on December the 5th and bringing them home. If the branches flower on Christmas Eve, it’s said to mean wedding bells for a girl in the family.