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Weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world

It’s easy to assume that people from around the world celebrate Christmas in the same way that we do, with the Christmas lights, tree, gifts and food that we know so well, but there are some surprising traditions unique to various countries across the globe.


In Catalonia, the “defecating log” – caga tió – is a log carved into the shape of a small, smiling creature. It is placed on the dining table before being “fed” each day of the fortnight before Christmas. On Christmas Eve the log is hit by sticks, in order to extricate the goodies contained within.


In neighbouring Portugal, an enduring tradition is to set a place at the Christmas table for each deceased member of the family; this ritual of “consoda” is believed to bring good luck.

Austria & Germany

In these nations, “Krampus” is a mythical, evil, horned Christmas creature said to punish children who misbehave.


All brooms are hidden before bedtime on Christmas Eve in Norway, as the date is thought to bring witches and evil spirits into the homes of the country.


While not everyone loves Brussels sprouts, it’s fair bet that most would choose those over some of the delicacies favoured by residents of Greenland. “Kiviak” is a small bird that has decomposed following several months’ burial wrapped in seal skin, while “Mattak” consists of whale blubber and skin.


Roads are closed on Christmas morning for residents of Caracas to travel to church – on roller skates!


Those in India who celebrate Christmas decorate mango or banana trees in place of our festive fir.

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