A merry… weird Christmas!
More than celebrating the white season of presents and serenity, some nations around the Globe can boast a merry… weird Christmas! So we all have harmless, generous Santa Claus, with his red cloak and bag full of presents (ever since his first appearance in the 1931 Coca Cola commercial) and the adorned Christmas tree; but would you imagine there is such a thing as a Christmas Goat or a pickle in the Christmas tree?
Here are some of the weirdest Christmas traditions around the Globe:
1. Christmas must be about purity, beauty and angels protecting children’s sleep… right? Well, the Austrians apparently beg to differ. The duality good – evil is evident in the celebration of Christmas here, because Santa has an accomplice… who is not a benign elf, but a demon, Krampus. He haunts the streets seeking to punish bad children.
2. The fact that they are not Christians doesn’t stop the Japanese from celebrating Christmas. And they do it in style, with cake and, weirdly enough, with KFC. Over 240.000 chicken barrels from the famous fast food chain are sold across Japan on Christmas Eve every year.
3. About that Christmas Goat: before Santa Claus became popular, the Norse mythology venerated one of the companions of the god Thor, the goat, who had similar attributes. In 1966, Gavle city in Sweden built a 13 meter tall straw goat. On Christmas Eve, it went up in flames. Relentless, the city authorities built it back again and again, though vandals keep burning it year after year.
4. They might make up just a bit over 2% of the Indian population, but there are some 25 million Christians living there. For want of fir trees, people decorate mango and banana trees instead. The same problem is faced by people in New Zealand, who decorate Pohutukawa trees.
5. In Italy, instead of Santa, children are given presents by a good witch, la Befana.