To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Weird Christmas Traditions From Around The World

Weird Christmas Traditions From Around The World

From rollerskating Santas to shitting nativity peasants, here are some of the strangest festive traditions going.

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

On Christmas morning, millions of children will have woken up excited to see what St Nick left under their tree. Were they on the nice list? Did they get that drum kit?

Would they get a nice present or a lump of coal?

But whereas at any other point in the year, the idea of a fat magician sneaking down your chimney to empty his sack would be - rightly - met with horror and disgust, on December 25 we don't bat an eyelid - in fact we welcome it.

Quite clearly it's just a bizarre story that parents tell their children every year (never lie to your kids, apart from making them believe in a jolly fat man who manages to deliver presents to around 7 billion families in 24 hours), but this is just the tip of the iceberg of strange traditions people have when it comes to celebrating the festive period.

Here's some of the craziest Christmas shit from around the globe.

Caracas, Venezuela

Roads are blocked off in the week leading up to Christmas so people can skate to mass.

This might just be one of the most peculiar - and one of the best - Christmas traditions around. Absolute Genius.

Every year, in the week leading up to Christmas, families in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, wake up and go to mass. Sounds fairly familiar and not overly remarkable - but rather than hopping in the hatchback, they don their best pair of roller skates and wheel through the streets to the festive service.

So many people take part, the police have to cordon off roads on the day.

It's even said that children will sleep with one lace from their skates tied around their toe, the other skate dangling from the window so their friends can glide past on their skates and wake them up with a gentle tug on the lace.


Millions of people tuck into a bucket of Christmas chicken in Japan.
KFC Japan

One of the best things about the big day itself is the incredible amount of food and booze you get to consume, with the roast dinner being the pièce de résistance.

But how about swapping turkey and sprouts for a bucket of fried chicken?

Ever since KFC launched its "Kurisumasuniwakentakkii!" (Kentucky for Christmas!) more than 40 years ago, Japanese folk have been going crazy for the colonel's special recipe, with more than three million people flocking to the fast food chain on Christmas Eve to tuck into their crispy chicken.

Speaking to Business Insider, store manager Takeshi Okawara started the tradition when he dressed up as Santa and held a party at a school. It was such a success another kindergarten class asked for a KFC-themed Christmas party.

This was the light bulb moment and from that moment on, he began putting Colonel Sanders statues outside of KFC stores, marketing fried chicken as a replacement to the American turkey Christmas dinner.

Slowly but surely, an entire nation was convinced that going to KFC was a Christmas tradition.

But it doesn't come cheap - you'll have to fork out around 3,336 yen (£20) for the pleasure. And the price of a flight to Japan.


The traditional 'caganer' is placed in the nativity every year.
Creative Commons

Northern Spain has a couple of odd ones.

For Christmas, the 'caga tio' or 'defecating log' is the name given to a grinning creature made out of a small hollow log and placed in the middle of the dining table. In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, the log is filled with fruit, nuts and sweets until Christmas Eve - or Christmas Day - when it's beaten with sticks until the goodies fall out.

The second also has a certain ring to it; a 'caganer' is a small defecating figurine and is traditionally placed in nativity scenes.

Depicted as a peasant, the figure generally wears the traditional Catalan red cap (the barretina), with his trousers pulled down, while dropping off a Christmas present of his own.

Maybe that's why the three wise men brought frankincense.


Hundreds of people take part in the Krampus parade every year.
Creative Commons

Now things begin to take a bit of a sinister tone. Santa Claus' evil twin,'Krampus', is a half-man, half-goat demon who is believed to torment, beat, and even kidnap little children.

Doesn't that just warm your heart?

The story of the malevolent beast has been around for hundreds of years but even today, some towns and villages keep the tale alive with their own Krampus parade - a night parade where people dress up as Krampus and his Perchten elves, just to terrify young kids.

The 'Krampus run' as it's sometimes called is held on either St. Nicholas' Eve (December 5) or St. Nicholas' Day (December 6) and it's a big deal, with more than 200 parade clubs - known as Pässe - spending months making their own costumes for the annual celebration.

The Netherlands

Zwarte Piet has become an increasingly controversial tradition.

It's safe to say the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Pete - Black Pete - is a tad controversial in modern times.

It dates back to the mid-19th century and sees people 'black up', put on garish red lipstick, gold earrings, and wear Renaissance clothing while they march through the streets handing out sweets.

Yep, black face is still apparently a thing that people do - at ill-judged fancy dress parties and large parts of Central Europe.

The procession, which sees hundreds of people get into character, happens every year on December 5, in many cities across the lowland country.

But in recent years, it's come under fire in the Netherlands and elsewhere campaigning to see and end to the divisive tradition.

The UN said it's 'a throwback to slavery and it should not happen'.

But in 2018, 88% of the Dutch public did not perceive Zwarte Piet as racist, and 54% were happy with the character's modernized appearance.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, UK News