Merry Christmas from the Anderson Shumaker family! Today’s holiday is celebrated by 92% of American families. However, America isn’t the only country to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is a very important time for celebration – religious or just plain festive – for many cultures all over the world. To help get you into the holiday spirit, here is some fun, merry Christmas trivia to share as you celebrate.
Merry Christmas Trivia
- South Africa: A traditional Christmas dish is deep-fried emperor moth caterpillars. This grub is highly nutritious, and it proves once again that anything deep-fried is delicious!
- Japan: Japanese families enjoy a traditional Christmas feast of… Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)! This is due to a very successful 1974 marketing campaign promoting “Kentucky for Christmas.” It’s so popular that Japanese KFC establishments require reservations on Christmas Day.
- Philippines: San Fernando is the Christmas capital of the island chain. Each Christmas, the Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival) lights hundreds of lanterns. These lanterns are made of thousands of spinning lights and symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.
- Austria: Krampus is all the rage the first week of December. While St. Nicholas rewards good children, Krampus – a demon-like creature in Christmas clothing – captures naughty children and whisks them away. To celebrate, parades of young men dressed as Krampus move through the streets ringing bells and dragging chains.
- Czech Republic: If you’re a single woman in the Czech Republic, it’s tradition on Christmas Eve to stand with your back to a door and toss a shoe over your shoulder. If it lands pointing at the door, you’ll find love in the new year. If the heel points to the door, you’ll be single until next Christmas Day.
- Estonia: The holidays are hot in Estonia, because families traditionally relax in a sauna on Christmas and New Year’s Eve after decorating for the holidays.
- Ireland: While American children leave Santa Claus cookies and milk, Irish children leave him traditional mince pies and a pint of Guinness.
- Italy: Children in Italy don’t just wait for Santa Claus; they look forward to January 5, when the good Christmas witch La Befana brings toys and sweets.
- Norway: Speaking of witches, Norwegians believe that on Christmas Eve, evil witches come out on Christmas to steal brooms to ride. Therefore, everyone hides brooms, mops, and vacuums before the holidays to stop them.
- Slovakia: Slovakians can really use those Norwegian brooms, because the family leader ceremoniously flings a spoonful of Loksa – a traditional Christmas dish of poppy seed filling – at the ceiling to announce the official start of the holiday meal.
- Sweden: Swedish families serve a traditional breakfast of rice milk pudding topped with butter and cinnamon. Hidden inside one bowl is an almond. The first child to find the almond is blessed with “good fortune” in the new year.
- Ukraine: There’s a spooky tradition in the Ukraine: instead of lights and tinsel, they decorate their Christmas trees with spiderwebs! This is in celebration of the Legend of the Christmas Spider.
North & South America
- German-American: Do you hang a pickle on your Christmas tree? In German-American, it’s tradition to hide a pickle ornament and make it a game. For example, the first one to locate it gets a special gift. Long thought to be a German tradition, resesearch ties this pickle-puzzle to mostly American-German families.
- Greenland: When it comes to Christmas dinners, Greenlanders love to indulge – in a traditional Inuit kiviack dish made from raw, fermented auk (bird) wrapped in sealskin. Some Inuit Greenlanders also treat themselves to mattak – whale skin and blubber.
- Venezuela: Because the roads close on Christmas Day, many people travel to traditional Christmas Eve mass with roller-skates. They also celebrate with fireworks on Christmas Day.
However you celebrate your holidays, we wish you and your family peace, happiness, and a very festively wonderful day!
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