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Putting Candy on a Gingerbread House

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Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to those who choose to celebrate today! Whether you and the family focus on gift giving and decor or the birth of Jesus Christ, today is filled with holiday cheer and traditions passed down from generation to generation. Some families buy fresh trees and dress them with holiday ornaments to get into the Christmas spirit and others prepare a Christmas dinner menu full of all their seasonal favorites. Some people are willing to stand in long grocery store lines to find gingerbread and eggnog to keep their family Christmas traditions alive. There are a million ways to celebrate Christmas and here’s a list comprised of 5 of the world’s strangest Christmas traditions.

1. ‘Tis The Season For KFC 

Who needs another holiday ham anyway? For many Japanese families, a traditional Christmas dinner is simply Kentucky Fried Chicken. A clever marketing campaign convinced locals that fried chicken is a traditional American holiday feast so much that reservations have to be made to eat at a KFC fast food restaurant on Christmas Day. Colonel Sanders statues rest outside KFC’s Japanese outlets dressed in Santa gear and the chicken is served in special holiday packaging. KFC created an online service so that families can order Xmas Family buckets in advance and have it delivered since the demand has tremendously increased.

2. Poop For The Holidays

In Catalonia, Spain locals practice a bizarre tradition of caga tió or ‘defecating log’. Locals create a character out of a log, drawing a face on it and giving it a hat. Then they spend a fortnight ‘feeding’ it fruit, nuts and sweets. On Christmas Eve, the entire family beats the log with sticks and sing a traditional song that translates to ‘if you don’t crap well, i’ll beat you with a stick’ until the log excretes all its treats. They also decorate their nativity scenes with small, pooping, ceramic caganers (figurines). Usually well-known characters, often drawn from that year’s news, the figurines always have their pants around their ankles.

3. Clean The Halls

The people of Guatemala believe cleanliness really is next to Godliness. Locals claim that the devil and other evil spirits live in the dark, dirty corners of your home. In turn, they spend the week before Christmas sweeping up, collecting rubbish and then piling everything in a huge heap outside. In the end, an effigy of the devil is placed on top and the whole thing is set on fire. This odd holiday tradition is called Quema del Diablo, the ‘Burning of the Devil’. The idea for Guatemalans is to burn all the bad from the previous year and start a new year from out of the ashes.

4. Peace On Earth (And In Heaven)

During consoda, the traditional Christmas feast in Portugal, families sometimes set extra places at the dining table for deceased relatives. The practice is said to ensure good fortunes for the household. In some areas, crumbs are left on the hearth as well. Imagine being responsible for feeding your relatives both dead and alive.

5. Under The Mistletoe

In Czech Republic, this strange Christmas tradition belongs right underneath the mistletoe. On Christmas Eve, unmarried Czech women stand with their back to the door and toss one of their shoes over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door, it means that they’ll be married within the year. If it lands with the heel facing the door, they’re in for another year of online dating and novice love films.

These traditions may be strange to you, but not too odd for the millions participating across the world. These locals probably look at many American holiday customs as unusual and unnecessary, but what matters most today is carrying out family traditions for generations to come. Enjoy a safe Christmas with family and friends and comment your family’s favorite and even strange, Christmas traditions!

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