New Delhi: If you thought Christmas is all about rum cakes, presents, Christmas trees and a big feast, well, you’ll be somewhat correct but there’s a lot more to it than that. Christmas has different traditions based on the country you live in. Some of these come from pagan rituals that date back centuries, some just came up based on the country’s traditions.
Let’s look at 5 different rituals or traditions of some countries:
- Austria: Aside from Austria, Krampus is popular in most Alpine folklore, a nemesis to Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas, Krampus scares children who have been naughty all year, Krampus captures the naughtiest children and whisks them away in his sack. During the first week of December young men would dress up as Krampus and on Saint Nicholas Eve to frighten children by clattering chains and bells.
- Iceland: In Iceland, 13 Yule Lads/ Yulemen walk around the country visiting, children. They are the sons of Gryla and Leppaludi. Gryla is a giantess who cooks naughty children in a large pot and eats them, her husband Leppaludi is lazy and mostly stays at home in their cave. The Yule Lads are mischievous, play pranks on people. But on the 13 days leading up to Christmas, they leave small gifts inside the boots children leave on the window sill but if they have been bad the Yule Lads leave rotten potatoes.
- Norway: Norwegians hide their brooms and mops at the safest places in their house before Christmas Eve as a tradition that dates back to centuries. It is believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride o
- Philippines: Held in mid-December in the City of San Fernando is the Giant Lantern Festival, which is a competition in which different parol lanterns, because of the population of the festival, the city is known as the Christmas capital of the country. Spectators from all over the world come to see the lights, which a period of time became more and more advanced. Originally, the lanterns were simple creations around half a metre in diameter, made from ‘papel de hapon’ (Japanese origami paper) and lit by candle. It is meant to be the representation of the Star of Bethlehem, which led The Three Wise men to Jesus’ birthplace.
- Spain: Perhaps of the most unusual tradition of Tió de Nadal is many parts of Spain especially Catalonia, a hollowed-out piece of log which is filled with presents and given a face and two to four legs made wood. Tió is given on the night of Immaculate Conception December 8, and children in the night preceding children must feed him and cover him with a blanket so that he isn’t cold. On Christmas Eve or Day Tió defecated presents. Earlier Was kept close to a fireplace to defecate presents but for those who don’t have a fireplace, he is beaten with a stick while singing Tió de Nadal until he defecates presents. He doesn’t leave large presents as it was believed to be brought by The Three Wise Men, he leaves It does leave candies, nuts and torrons, and small toys. Depending on the region of Catalonia, it may also give out dried figs.