Kooky Christmas traditions around the world

By Kelly Jirsa

Illuminated Christmas tree at night
Christmas is celebrated in many weird and wonderful ways around the world. We take a snapshot of six curious Christmas traditions.


Catalan culture (Spain and parts of France, Portugal and Italy)

In amongst a 30-figurine nativity scene you’ll find a little toilet humour with the figurine of Caganer, who can be found defecating. The name literally means “the crapper”. Modern-day Caganers are made to represent celebrities and politicians.

Roller-skating to mass


In Caracas, Venezuela, the roads close for nine days leaving people to other methods of getting around. Families can be seen rolling around town on their way to mass in congo lines and in linked arms.

Spider webs


In Ukraine, the story goes that a family too poor to decorate their Christmas tree woke on Christmas morning to find it had been decorated by spiders. Now Ukrainians decorate their tress with artificial webs.

Throwing food on the ceiling


At the traditional Christmas Eve family dinner the head of the family is required to throw a spoon of ‘loksa’ at the ceiling. If the food sticks it is a sign of a good crop in the future.

Shoe throwing

Czech Republic

Single women in the Czech republic throw their shoes over their shoulders on Christmas day to predict if they will marry in the New Year. If the shoe lands with the toe facing the front door the tradition holds that she will be married within the year.

La Befana


In Italy an old woman looking very witch-like visits children delivering candy and presents on the eve of the ‘Feast of Epiphany’ if they are good. If they have been bad the children of Italy receive a lump of coal or dark candy, or in poorer areas a stick.




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