Some Famous Christmas Traditions Around The World

Kira Grega, Staff Reporter

It’s Christmas time! Many of you, I’m sure, have your own family traditions during this holiday, as do other countries.

Giant Lantern Festival: The Giant Lantern Festival in the city of San Fernando, Philippines, occurs every Saturday before Christmas Eve. Eleven villages take part in this festival, and compete as to who can build the most elaborate lantern. “Originally, the lanterns were simple creations around half a metre in diameter, made from ‘papel de hapon’ (Japanese origami paper) and lit by candle. Today, the lanterns are made from a variety of materials and have grown to around six metres in size. They are illuminated by electric bulbs that sparkle in a kaleidoscope of patterns.” 

Gavle Goat, Sweden: A 13 meter tall Yule Goat stands in the center of Gavle’s Castle Square for the Advent. This “tradition” also led to yet, a kind of unsettling one, the attempt of burning down the Goat. Since 1966, it has burned down 29 times.

Krampus, Austria: Krampus, St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, is a beast-like demon creature that “roams city streets frightening kids and punishing the bad ones.” An Austrian tradition where St. Nicholas rewards the good kids and Krampus captures the bad kids and whisks them away in his sack. The first week of December, young men dress up as Krampus and run around scaring kids with chains and bells.

Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner, Japan: Japan doesn’t take too overwhelmingly to Christmas, other than some exchanging of gifts and maybe a little light show every now and again. A new “tradition” has accumulated, a Christmas Day feast of, yes, the famous “finger lickin’ good” Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The Yule Lads, Iceland: In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 troll like characters come out to play in Iceland. They visit children across the country, leaving presents in the good kids shoes, and rotting potatoes in the bad ones. Each one’s name is represented by the trouble they call. Go visit Iceland and you can actually attempt to catch them all!

Day of The Little Candles, Columbia: “Little Candles’ Day (Día de las Velitas) marks the start of the Christmas season across Colombia. In honor of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception, people place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies and front yards. The tradition of candles has grown, and now entire towns and cities across the country are lit up with elaborate displays.”