Most of you are familiar with American, Canadian and English Christmas customs, which are largely the same, including Santa bringing presents that sit below a lit up tree. But have you ever wondered just how Christmas is celebrated in China, or in Finland? Whether you’re just interested in learning more about other cultures or want to incorporate some new traditions into your holiday celebrations, this article is filled with all you need to know about international Christmases.

Austria:
Austrian children still get to celebrate the arrival of Ol’ Saint Nick, but they also have to brace themselves for the arrival of his evil counterpart, Krampus. Where Saint Nicholas rewards good behavior with treats and toys on December 6, the demonic Krampus arrives on December 5, looking to punish all the bad children. His weapons of choice are birch switches to beat children with and burlap sacks to kidnap them and throw them into the river.

The worst part is that local men actually dress up like Krampus (just like many men dress up as Santa in America) and terrorize the streets. In some villages, kids are even made to run what is known as a Krampus-gauntlet, in an attempt to outrun the switches.

Czechoslovakia:
The Czechoslovakian version of Saint Nick is known as Svaty Mikalas, who is said to climb down to Earth from the heavens using a golden rope. Mikalas is accompanied by an angel and a devil who help him decide which girls and boys deserve treats and toys, and which ones deserve a swatch.

There are a lot of fortune-telling traditions that are associated with Christmas as well. One involves a family member cutting a branch from a cherry tree and putting it inside in water. If it blooms in time for Christmas it is good luck. It also may represent that the winter will be short, or if a single woman picked the branch, it could mean she will get married in the next year.

On Christmas Eve, single woman also try to see if they will get married in the next year by standing outside with their back to their front door, removing one of their shoes and throwing it over their shoulder. If the shoe lands with the toe facing the door, then she will marry in the next year. If not, she will have to wait at least another 12 months.

Finland:
Finnish people honor their departed loved ones on Christmas Eve by visiting the cemeteries and leaving candles on the graves of their family members. If they live too far away to visit their loved one’s graves, most graveyards have an area you can light a candle to remember those buried in other cemeteries. The soft snow and gentle glow of the candles make graveyards a very beautiful place to visit on Christmas Eve.

France:
Children of East France have an evil visitor, similar to Krampus, to keep them behaving all year long. Le Pere Fouettard, which translates into “The Whipping Father,” accompanies Saint Nicolas in on December 6. While St. Nick gives good children presents, Le Pere Fouettard gives coal and whippings to the naughty children. One of the most popular origin stories of the character say that he was a greedy inn keeper who killed three rich boys on their way to boarding school. In many versions of the story, he even eats the children. Whether or not he cannibalizes the boys, the story ends when Saint Nick finds out and resurrects the children and forces Le Pere Fouettard to act as his servant throughout time.

Aside from The Whipping Father, another popular French tradition involves making a cake that looks like a traditional Yule log, known as buche de Noel. Christmas trees never really caught on in the country and while most people don’t have any use for an actual Yule log, the cake is a fun and festive substitute. Some of the buche de Nol can get fairly elaborate and even involve meringue mushrooms and edible flower decorations.

Germany:
Belsnickel is the German Santa’s dark enforcer, but he’s not nearly as evil as Krumpus or The Whipping Father. Instead he just wears fur from head to toe and gives good girls and boys candy and bad children coal and switches.

Many are decorated with a wreath known as an “Adventskranz.” These wreaths have four candles which serve as a sort of weekly advent calendar, as each Sunday marks the opportunity to light a new candle.

On December 21, St. Thomas Day is believed to be the shortest day of the year and anyone who arrives late to work is called a “Thomas Donkey.” They are also given a cardboard donkey and made fun of throughout the rest of the day.

Like many places in Europe, the Christmas tree is kept secret from the children until Christmas Eve. The parents bring the tree in, decorate it with candies, tinsel, lights and toys, put presents and plates of candy treats under the tree and then ring a bell signaling that the children can enter. The children then get to eat snacks and the whole family opens presents.

All Christmas Celebrations Around The World You Need To Know (part 2)


neatorama.com

Category: | edit post
Reactions: 
1 Response
  1. anney Says:

    I can't believe there are people who violently celebrate Christmas just like in Austria. I got curious about Krampus and looked him up n wikipedia
    waaaaaaaaaah!! I don't think I can go to sleep tonight!! He looks scary! I shouldn't have looked. lol!


Funny cartoon of the day

Funny cartoon of the day