When you think about it, our western Christmas traditions are pretty weird. If we told anyone who didn’t know the tradition that we haul fir trees into our living room, string lights on it and wait for a bearded old man to fall down our chimney we would be considered slightly deranged. With that in mind, I give you other strange holiday traditions around the world.
1. Japan. Forget a Christmas turkey. Folks in Japan eat–wait for it–Kentucky Fried Chicken. If they choose to dine out, reservations must be made because the demand is so great. (I wonder how popular KFC is the other 364 days of the year. )
2. Spain. In Catalonia they celebrate Christmas with Caga Tío, or the Pooping Log. A log is hollowed out, little legs are stuck on and a face is painted on its flat surface. Beginning December 8, Caga is “fed” and covered with a blanket. On Christmas, Caga is beaten with a stick and ordered to poop. He obliges by eliminating figs, nuts, and small candles, with the final offering being a herring, onion or garlic. When he’s given his all, poor Caga ends up in the fireplace.
3. Caracas. Church-goers attend church faithfully between December 16 and 24. Not unusual in itself, but these folks go on roller-skates. Accoriding to this site,
The streets are blocked off to vehicular traffic until 8 am and children, the night before, tie one end of a piece of string to their big toes and hang the other end out the window. As roller skaters go by the next morning, they give a tug to all the strings hanging out the windows.
4. Austria: Alpine countries like Austria celebrate something called Krampus Night. Sometime in early December, a beast-like creature stalks the streets to punish children who have been naughty, carrying them away to his lair in his sack. There is some debate as to whether this tradition is appropriate for children. Yah think?