Just 8 weird and wonderful Christmas customs from around the world.

The big day is here.

You’re probably sweating over the Christmas turkey, praying that the kids behave in front of the in-laws. Why not take a breather and let us take you on a little armchair holiday around the world to see how others celebrate Christmas?

The Christmas Bonus (Various Countries)

The “thirteenth salary” is equivalent to a month’s salary and is paid around Christmas, hence the term “Christmas Bonus”. In some countries, such as Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines, this payment is mandated by law.

Orthodox Christmas (Various Countries)

Many Orthodox Christian churches follow the Julian calendar, which runs 13 days behind the standard Gregorian calendar. This means that their Christmas falls on 7 January.

Despite the 13 day difference, Christmas is celebrated pretty much the same way, with trees, presents and religious reflection.

However, while the 25 December Christmas is seen as the climax to celebrations (with parties and festivities during the lead-up), the Orthodox Christmas Day is viewed as the start of celebrations.

One benefit of an Orthodox Christmas – taking advantage of those Gregorian after-Christmas sales!

Here’s how not to receive a Christmas present. Post continues below…

Have a Messy Christmas (Slovakia)

Talk about haute cuisine.

On the Christmas Eve family dinner, the patriarch takes a big spoon of a traditional dish and throws the food up at the ceiling. The more food that sticks up there, the richer the family will be the following year.

I might keep this one quiet from the family…

Kreepy Krampus (Various Countries including Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia)

If you thought Billy Bob Thornton was Bad Santa, think again.

Meet Krampus – half goat and half demon (um, pretty?), he beats naughty children with sticks and then drags them with him to the underworld.

A modern take can be seen in the event, Krampuslauf, which sees drunk men dressed as devils taking to the streets and chasing people. Yikes.


Running of the Santas (USA)

That’s more like it!

If you don’t fancy being chased around by scary devils, how about a bunch of drunken Santas? Up to 10,000 in fact?

The Running of the Santas started with 40 Santas in Philadelphia, and has since spread across the country, with places like Boston and Chicago holding their own events. This year in Philadelphia alone, up to 10,000 Santas are expected. The event is really one huge pub crawl, with the goal to raise money for local charities.

Love is all around (Czech Republic)

People in the Czech Republic enjoy dinners of fish soup, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year.

For single gals in the Czech Republic wanting to avoid a terrible fate at next year’s Christmas dinner, this little trick can predict whether they will get married soon. What they need to do is turn their back to the front door and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the shoe points towards the door, there will be wedded bliss (and guaranteed survival for an extra year) by the following Christmas.


Oh, sh*t (Catalonia)

Since at least the 18th century, a traditional Catalonian nativity scene has had a rather interesting addition – the caganer (politely translated as the defecator). The caganer stands – or rather, squats – side-by-side with Mary, the baby Jesus and co, leaving a rather lovely small brown present underneath.

“Poop Log” (Catalonia)

Still on the theme of poop in Catalonia, how about this equally charming idea for the kiddies?

Instead of the Christmas stockings we may be familiar with, kids in Catalonia get a hollow wooden log called Tio De Nadal (or Caga Tio, or “Poop Log”). From the 8 December till Christmas Day, children are to nurture their log by keeping it warm under a blanket and leaving it food and water each night. The more generous they are, the more they can expect back from the log.

On Christmas Day, kids are sent out of the room to say prayers that the log will deliver good presents, while their parents secretly fill the log with treats. The children sing songs and take turns to whack the log with sticks to see what goodies it will ‘poop’ out.

This post originally appeared on Stuck on You and has been republished here with full permission.

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