Fantastically Bizarre Holiday Traditions

… from Around the World!

My family celebrates Christmas, and it’s very conventional. We don’t ‘spice it up’ – It’s the cookies and milk for Santa, homemade angel on top of the tree, cinnamon buns in the morning type of Christmas every year – and I love it!   I feel very prideful about my family’s traditions – it binds me to a long history of people before me who tried their best to create something lasting and special long before I came into being.   But, for the sake of this blog, I thought instead of “warm and fuzzy” holiday, I figured I would expose you to the very unconventional side of the Christmas season from around the world! Soooo…here are some of my favorites:

Mari Lwyd 

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Wait!  Is that a skeleton of a dead horse head in the picture above??? Oh, yes!  Nothing says Christmas to the Welsh like caroling door to door in a dead horse costume hoping that the people they sing to will give them snacks and drinks.  What makes this even more awesome is that they actually rig the jaw of the skeleton so that whoever is wearing the costume can bite people; and, everyone has to go along with it, even if it hurts! The tradition is all in the name of receiving good luck!!!  I find this hilarious, and I want in!

Straw Devils

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I love Halloween decorations, so seeing pumpkins at Christmas time rocks the house!  In Bavaria, it’s actually a Christmas tradition to dress up in the creepiest “straw devil” costume and run around the streets scaring the crap out of anyone and everyone.  Now, what this has to do with Christmas… who really knows??  All we know is that it a pagan tradition that at some point integrated into a Christmas tradition…and I’m diggin’ it.

Gävle Goat

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 Every year in Gävle, Sweden, since 1966, a 43-foot tall, 3-ton straw goat is constructed right before the beginning of advent; and every year, local delinquents attempt to destroy it – mostly in the form of arson.  But, the destruction of the goat has happened so many times now, that someone burning it down or destroying it is actually expected – illegal, yes, but a tradition none the less.  The goat has only survived 10 Christmas’ in the last 50 years – it’s like people just can’t help themselves…maybe it is has something to do with the fact that only 4 people have been caught and prosecuted since 1966?  Check out the hysterical time-line on Wikipedia of what has happened every year to poor Mr. Gävle Goat.


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 Sure, KFC isn’t weird…but, what IS bizarre is that KFC is THE Christmas dinner destination spot in Japan.  During the early 1970s, the original KFC stores that were opened in Japan were struggling in sales, and out of that birthed a marketing strategy to promote fried chicken as the perfect Christmas meal.  It is now such a popular tradition that people have to reserve their buckets ahead of time!!!  WHO KNEW!?

Tío de Nadal

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 This has to be one of my FAVORITE TRADITIONS!! Like, I want my future kids to be involved in this!  Every year on December 8th in Catalonia, Spain, children begin to “feed” a hallowed out tree log (Tío de Nadal) until Christmas Eve or Day.  The modern day Tío, which was once just a sad dead log, is now designed to look like some sort of really happy human/animal creeper.  Tío is even covered up with a blanket at night to make sure he doesn’t get cold.  But, what happens on Tio’s final day of life on Christmas Eve/Day after he has been taken such good care of, you ask?  All the children grab a stick or some kind of bat and begin to beat the literal and figurative “crap” out of the log in order to get the log to “poop” out presents that parents/family have secretly hidden inside the log.  But, don’t worry about the log, he obviously likes it because he smiles the whole time.  Someone, quick! Hand me a bat!


Do YOU have a favorite holiday tradition??  Let us know! Twitter: @BioTerraHerbs #goherbal or – we would love to hear from you!

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