QUIRKY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
In South Africa we are pretty much traditional in the way that we celebrate Christmas, much of which has been inherited due to colonial influences.
However others around the world are very proud of their own traditions, so tinsel, reindeer and red clothed Santa’s do not reign supreme.
In Austria a ghoulish character KRAMPUS wanders the streets looking for naughty kids, who scream with horror seeing this terrifying figure.
It is more of a warning than anything and children are quickly pacified by their parents, explaining the fun of it all.
The YULE CAT in Iceland being quite gigantic is traditionally known to roam the icy landscape causing mayhem originally used by farmers as a threat to their labourers. Should they behave well, a set of new clothes would be awarded to them, if not the curse of being devoured by the Yule cat hung over them, quite unbelievable scary tactics !
The origins of erecting a Christmas tree supposedly originated in Germany in the 16th century. These Teutonic folk have one strange tradition, hiding a PICKLED CUCUMBER in the branches. The first child in the household to discover this then receives a gift !
In Sweden the YULE GOAT is one of the oldest traditions still celebrated going back to the 17th century when young men dressed up as goat creatures full of pranks, demanding gifts. With time this has been somewhat modified and nowadays a huge straw goat is created and once set alight it meets its demise.
In 1974 the Americans cleverly released a campaign in Japan encouraging a festive ambience with a simple slogan “kurisumasu wa kentakkii”.
Although the 25th of December has no significance in that country, hoards of Japanese head to local KFC outlets for a Christmas eve meal !
Not forsaking our own domain, Africa; Christmas is generally associated with mince pies, cake and turkey but in some parts of Africa kids look forward to creepy crawly fried CATERPILLARS not run of the mill, but associated with the pine tree emperor moth, giving all those who swallow these good luck in the New Year.
Finally the writer would like to thank readers who have given support in reading the many articles through the year and to wish all a safe and joyful festive season.