Christmas is here and the celebrations have begun well in advance.
Decorating the house, buying presents, decking up the tree, making delicious feast and spending quality time with family and friends. Isn't this the most common way of celebrating Christmas?
But did you know that there are some traditions around the world that are amusing and strange?
Read on for some of the most bizarre customs that are followed on Christmas.
Text: Sneha M
Czech Republic, Slovakia
A belief in Czech Republic predicts whether the unmarried women will get married in the next year or not.
The tradition is such that, on Christmas day, unmarried women stand with their back to the door and toss their shoes in the air and if it lands with the toe pointing to the door then the person will get married by next Christmas.
Ahhhhaaa so that’s all you need to do to know you marital status for the year! Easy isn't it?
In Finland, cemeteries are lit up with candles on Christmas Eve. Families pay a visit to their ancestors and place candles in their honour.
It is also believed that many families leave food on the table, leave their beds and sleep on the floor as a gratitude to their ancestors. They believe that the dead would pay them a visit, have a hearty meal and rest on their beds.
When the whole world would be feasting on turkey or the traditional ham on Christmas, Japanese would we flocking KFC stores.
Many in Japan celebrate by eating fried chicken. During Christmas, Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets records an increase of five to ten times their normal monthly sales and the bookings are done months in advance.
In Caracas, during Christmas all the streets are closed until 8 in the morning. Here, on Christmas Eve, the young kids tie a string to their toe and leave the other end outside their window. Well, that’s because early in the morning celebrations starts with attending the morning mass on roller skates. So the tradition is while skating if they find any strings outside the windows they customarily tug it with them.
Wooaaa! What a sight it would be to watch on Christmas morning.
Instead of all the pomp and show, people in Ukraine decorate their Christmas trees with artificial spiders and cobwebs.
Sounds weird right? Well, there is a story behind this strange tradition. There was once an old woman who couldn’t afford Christmas decorations. On Christmas morning her kids found the tree covered with spider webs and when the first ray of light touched the tree all the webs turned into gold.
So the custom is such that seeing a spider web on Christmas morning is considered lucky.
Norway has an ancient tradition on Christmas Eve. Norwegians hide the brooms in the house, as they believe that witches and mischievous spirits come out on Christmas Eve and steal their brooms for to ride the skies.
Wow! If that were true then what a delightful sight it would be?
Families in Finland have their own personal sauna coz they believe that a sauna elf protects it.
So on every Christmas most Finnish people head to his or her sauna and enjoy a good soak. Post sunset though, (warning: this might sound spooky and creepy!) the place is meant for our beloved ancestors.
The Great Britain
Pudding is the traditional dessert served on Christmas Day, but there is a tradition behind the making of the pudding.
It is believed to make a wish while mixing the ingredients. And it has to be stirred clockwise if you want your wish to come true. So each family member takes turns and stirs the ingredients clockwise while making a wish.
Some British families add coin in the mixture denoting good luck and wealth to the person who gets its in their serving or a ring for luck in marriage.
When the whole world would be waiting for Santa Claus to bring presents, children in Italy go to bed wishing for an old witch to drop in their presents.
The witch, La Befana, is portrayed as an old lady who rides a broomstick and enters homes through chimneys. She brings gifts and candy for the kids on Epiphany Eve (January 5th). Just like food is left for Santa, children leave wine and food out for the witch too.
A tough competition to Santa, I guess?