Christmas is synonymous with sparkling trees, an abundance of presents and the behemoth roast turkey but each country has their own twist on the seasons festivities. So we have taken a look at some Christmas traditions from all around the world and picked the quirkiest or cutest practices.
At Christmas time in Denmark there is a mischievous elf called Nisse who, full of tomfoolery, has his fun during the festive season. He is suppose to live above old farmhouses and loves to play a trick or two. He wears woollen clothes, a red bonnet, red stockings and white, wooden clogs. Families always leave him a bowl of rice pudding on Christmas Eve to keep him happy. He is generally kind and helpful and is good to the children.
The Germans are renowned for making exquisite gingerbread houses and cookies. There is also another festive sweet known as Christbaumgeback, which is a kind of tree pastry. These are made from white dough and moulded into shapes before being baked and hung on the tree.
Italian children must wait until Epiphany on January 6th for their presents. The story goes that Befana, a lovely but ugly witch, brings presents to the children. She was delayed visiting baby Jesus and then lost her way; she has been flying around ever since and delivers presents to every child’s room in case baby Jesus is there.
Christmas trees aren’t found in Swedish homes until two days before Christmas. Decorations include candles, apples, Swedish flags, small gnomes wearing red tasselled caps and straw ornaments. Homes are filled with red tulips and fragrant pepparkakor (a sweet gingerbread).
On Christmas day children are blindfolded and taken to try and break a clay piñata, jammed with sweet treats. The traditional delights that gush from the broken piñata are guavas, organs, jicamas, tejocotes, sugar cane and wrapped candies.
In the Ukraine Father Frost visits all children on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. His companion is a little girl named Snowflake Girl. She wears a silver and blue costume with a snowflake shaped crown.
At Christmas time in Peru nativity scenes with Retablos inside are extremely popular. These depict Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus surrounded by saints above the altar and mundane scenes below.
Do you have any quirky family traditions? Or do you know of any more particular Christmas traditions? If so we want to know!