Curious Christmas Traditions From Around the World

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Will you be tucking into a turkey or gathering round the fire for some good old carol singing in a few weeks’ time? Many of us have our own unique ways of celebrating this special time of year with our family and friends. Across the globe, there are plenty of wonderful and wacky Christmas-time traditions – here are some of our favourites!

A Straw Giant in Sweden

The Swedish city of Gavlë (where temperatures can drop as low as -30°C around this time of year!) is home to the Gavlë Goat, a huge straw display of a traditional Yule Goat that stands over 40 feet tall. 

Tourists flock to the city to marvel at the gigantic structure during the Christmas season, although it’s also fallen victim to a number of arson attacks over the years – the structure has been burned down over 35 times since the tradition began in 1966.

Unique Christmas Dinners in Japan

While Christians only make up around 1% of Japan’s total population, many Japanese still celebrate the festival in a slightly unorthodox way. Instead of a roast dinner with all the trimmings or a delicious Christmas pudding, many people in Japan celebrate the holiday with a trip to KFC!

Starting in 1974, a savvy KFC marketing campaign has made their fast food meals a Christmas-time staple for many in Japan. It’s common to see queues outside KFC that stretch for hours in major Japanese cities around this time of year, with the restaurant also adding a number of Christmas-themed menu items especially for its Japanese market.

Swapping Sleighs for Surfboards in Australia

For many of us in chilly Britain, Christmas is a time to wrap up warm in a fashionably unfashionable holiday jumper and dream of a white Christmas. You won’t find any snow during this time of year Down Under, though, where Christmas comes in the middle of the Aussie summer.

Many Australians celebrate the festivities with a barbeque on the beach. Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach also plays host to surfing Santas as a Christmas tradition – in 2015, 320 surfers clad in Santa hats came together at the beach to break the world record for the largest surfing lesson ever!

Colourful Christmas Celebrations in Mexico

Mexico is well known for its vibrant festivals, such as the world-famous ‘Day of the Dead’, and the country’s Christmas festivities are no different. The story of the Nativity is one of the most important Christmas traditions in Mexico, where families gather to remember the biblical tale.

Local churches often put on productions retelling the famous journey, and festive marches take place through the centres of Mexican towns and cities. The traditional Nativity scene can also be found across Mexico at this time of year – families create their own versions in their windows or front gardens, and local artists often create impressive murals celebrating the event.

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