How do other cultures celebrate Christmas?

Four days until Christmas. The presents are ready, some of them are already packed. We feel the general anticipation. The time has come for the first Christmas traditions. While some people voluntarily freeze during traditional Christmas swimming, others provide internal warmth with a traditional holiday feast. Whether a lucky turkey, the oldest Christmas lottery or Donald Duck – we show the most unusual Christmas traditions from Europe.

1 Freezing Irish

While we spend most of the Christmas holidays dressed in knitted sweaters and wool socks, the Irish are quite unaffected by the snow and cold. The traditional Christmas swimming takes place in Ireland on the morning of December 25th, which, like in England, is considered the actual Christmas morning. But luckily he Irish do not have to tremble for nothing: The spectacle is organized for a good cause. If that’s not enough for you, you can at least enjoy the warm-up afterwards. This usually happens with a hot whiskey punch that consists of good Irish whiskey, lemon, brown sugar, cloves, and hot water. Hmmmm.


2 Lucky turkey in England

Speaking of England: on the day before the big Christmas day the British people get together for a small holiday feast with stuffed turkey and flambéed pudding. In addition to the meat, nut and fruit filling, there is also a coin hidden in the turkey’s belly. Whoever finds the coin can wish for a very special Christmas miracle. What a strange, but also nice Christmas tradition. 


3 Scandinavian duck

The Scandinavians prefer to brave cold and dark with extended meals in the family circle. Hyggelig is the technical term that is equated in Norway with a sumptuous lunch of up to 38 courses. While the roast duck is roasting in the oven in Norway, the Swedes have a preference for the cartoon version of the croaking poultry. In the afternoon of December 24th, the Swedes traditionally sit on the couch and watch Donald Duck, who has been a Swedish Christmas tradition since the Disney special “From All of Us to All of You” was first broadcast. Incidentally, in Sweden the gifts are not brought by the Christ child, but by the so-called Julbock. S therefore we wish the Swedes an animal Christmas.

4 Polish Christmas oracle

From strange traditions in Northern Europe to the sustainable Christmas of the Poles: The Polish festive table traditionally consists only of meatless dishes. A total of twelve vegetarian dishes are served, so nobody has to leave hungry. In many families, an additional place is also covered if an unexpected guest joins the feast. But it gets a little strange after all: in Poland there is also the tradition of putting straw under the tablecloth. Each guest has to choose a straw and then compare with the table neighbors who pulled the shortest and who pulled the longest. What the gimmick is about: The length of the straw should provide information about the life expectancy of the person. Well then good luck.


5 Romanian attachment

The Christmas dinner in Romania is also served without meat. Instead of twelve dishes, there is an odd number of dishes. On Christmas Eve, the Romanians demonstrate their attachment to the family: the remains of the Christmas dinner are left overnight so that deceased relatives can take part.


6 Lottery luck in Spain

Probably the most popular (and most important) Christmas tradition in Spain: the “Lotería de Navidad”. If you choose the right lucky numbers in the oldest and largest lottery, you could be rewarded on December 22nd with “El Grodo” – the big main prize. And it also gets really strange in Catalonia. The figure of the “Caganer” has been part of the traditional nativity scene inventory there since the 17th century. The crouching figure can be translated in English with “shit” – excuse the expression – which is not least recognizable by the lowered pants. In the past, the Caganer was a sign of the fertility of nature, today the leftover tradition ensures a warm laugh, especially among tourists. How beautiful Christmas can be.

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