Every family has their own personal traditions for the holidays that are special to them, regardless of how traditional or modern the practice is. Throughout the world, each country has its own traditions it follows. Either way, the underlying message for these traditions are to make the kids happy and for families to spend time with their loved ones in positivity and with good vibes.
Children in Iceland leave a shoe outside of their windowsills during the 12 days of Christmas. In the morning, the children wake up to find out the shoes have been filled with candy or toys during the night.
Interestingly, Germans hide a pickle in their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. In the morning, the first child to find the pickle wins a small prize. German kids also leave a shoe outside of the house on December 5th. If they have been nice, then it is filled with sweets during the night. Naughty children receive a branch in the shoe instead!
Although only about 1 percent of the Japanese population is Christian, dining at KFC has become a popular Christmas tradition in Japan. All thanks to a “Kentucky for Christmas!” advertising campaign in 1974, KFC created Christmas meals for families to enjoy together. The tradition is so popular that some people have to place their orders two months ahead!
In Finland, people tend to spend the Christmas holidays with the loved ones they have lost. Families head over to the cemeteries and light the graves of the dead with candles. The tradition started in 1920 when people went to light candles on the graves of World War I soldiers. The graveyards become a lovely sight on this night!
From late December to January, one may be surprised by a knock on the door door to reveal a horse’s skull attached to a wood pole and covered in a sheet. It is the Grey Mare or “Mari Lwyd” and her party of five or six. It is known that the Mari Lwyd and her visitors go around town singing to homes and pubs, bringing good luck with them.
Around early December, Guatemalans sweep through their houses and collect trash to pile out in the street. The pile is topped with a replica statue of a devil and is then set on fire. It is only then that Christmas practices can begin. The ritual of "burning the Devil" is said to be symbolic of cleansing the environment from evil spirits and any negative energy towards the future celebrations and festivities.