Great Ways to Celebrate the Holidays Around the World
The holidays always sneak up on us! We're so excited for another season of making memories with our families, sharing favorite foods, and finding new traditions that everyone can get excited about. We know everyone has their own traditions that they look forward to every year, but we wondered, what are some unique ones we never would have thought of?
Whether you adopt these for the future or learn something new, here are a few ways different countries and cultures celebrate the holidays around the world.
Night Of The Radishes - Mexico
On December 23rd in the United States, most of us may be attending corporate Christmas parties, doing some last-minute shopping, or maybe decorating the tree before the family comes to town. In Oaxaca, Mexico, though, December 23rd is La Noche de Rabanos or “The Night of the Radishes”.
La Noche de Rabanos is a festival for merchants and artisans to sell radishes that are intricately carved. The symbols and motifs include everything for animals and architecture to the nativity story. The radish carvings are sold as Christmas centerpieces, and the creator of the best radish design wins a prize. That’s one way to celebrate!
KFC For Christmas - Japan
Who needs fruit cake or figgy pudding when you have Kentucky Fired Chicken? In Japan, some 3.5 million Japanese families eat fried chicken on Christmas Eve! This is thanks to a marketing stunt by KFC in the 1970s called Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, which translates to “Kentucky for Christmas.”
Christmas is not as widely celebrated in Japan as it is in the US, so this tradition was one way to make up for that. The KFC Christmas Meal is so popular, many customers pre-order their dinners—which includes fried chicken, cake, and champagne—MONTHS in advance.
Hide The Brooms - Norway
We know a few pups who may prefer this tradition – that broom can be scary! In Norway, some people believe witches and spirits wander around on Christmas Eve, trying to stir up bad energy and cause trouble. But how can they wander without a broom? It’s a tradition to hide the brooms in Norway to prevent witches from ruining the holidays. It’s a tradition that has been around for centuries.
The Gift-Giving Witch - Italy
Norway may not be a fan of Italy’s Santa Claus, which is an ugly but sweet old witch: La Befana. The story goes that the Magi, on their way to visit baby Jesus, stopped at La Befana’s house to ask for directions. She was kind and told them where to go, and to thank her, they invited her to join them. She said she had too much housework to do and so they left. Eventually, she changed her mind and flew around trying to find them again so she could join.
It’s said that she flies on the night of January 5 (the eve of the Epiphany, which marks the Magi’s meeting with Baby Jesus), and much like Santa, La Befana brings toys to children. But instead of milk and cookies, Italians leave out a plate of local food and a glass of wine for her.
In poorer parts of Italy and, in particular, rural Sicily—a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal. Being a good housekeeper, La Befana may also sweep the floor before she leaves. To some, this symbolized the sweeping away of the problems that year.
Again, tricky for Norway if they hide their brooms and don’t like witches on Christmas. But when in Rome!
What Are Some of Your Favorite Holiday Traditions?
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