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The 5 strangest Christmas traditions

da Maryline

Here comes Christmas along with its traditions. If, for some of you this festive time of year brings to mind Christmas trees, snow, mulled wine and Christmas markets, for others, this fête means England’s competition for the ugliest Christmas sweater, Caracas’s roller boot race, the shoe ritual in the Czech Republic, the Christmas witch in Italy…each country has its own traditions. 

Christmas’s most unusual traditions from around the world!

« Ugly Christmas sweater party » 

It is well known that the Anglo-Saxons have a lot of imagination, establishing the 16th of December as international ugliest Christmas sweater day. Ever since, this phenomenon has gone viral, as this year many competitions have been organised all around the world.

This sweater wasn’t always considered “ugly”, it used to be a real family tradition, and sweaters were knitted by hand by our grandmothers with patterns reminiscent of the season: snow, Christmas trees, Father Christmas, reindeers… Nowadays, a prize is awarded on this international day.


Forget about good taste and make way for kitsch!!
           

Mass on roller skates

In Caracas, Christmas celebrations start on the 16th of December, day of the first mass. As strange as it may seem, it is not on foot or by car that the Venezuelans go to mass but on roller skates. That is why, on that day no traffic is allowed in the town, freeing up the roads for roller skate fanatics.


And here’s another tradition, before bedtime, the children of Caracas tie a string around their toe letting it dangle from their windows so that the faithful can wake them up on their way back from mass.

Anyone up for a roller skate ride? 

The Shoe ritual

On Christmas Eve, in the Czech Republic, single young women have a rather peculiar ritual: with their backs to their front doors, they have to throw their shoe over their shoulder.


If the shoe falls with its front facing the door this means that they will fall in love and be married by the end of the year. If the front of the shoe is facing away from the door, this means they will remain single for at least another year.

Befana the witch

Did you know? The Italians have a second Father Christmas called Befana and she’s a witch!! Each year, on the 6th of January, the Epiphany is celebrated. Befana is a pleasant old lady who goes through the Italian streets on her magic broom giving sweets to the children who have been good and coal for those who haven’t!! In Italy this little witch is as popular as Babbo Natale (Father Christmas).

Where does this legend come from? The story says that the three kings asked an old lady their way to Bethlehem. They asked her to accompany them on their way but she refused. She later regretted this and made up her mind to find them, carrying a basket full of presents for the children she met on her way.

  In Norway all brooms are hidden!

Amongst the numerous traditions existing in the world, one of them is centuries old: The Norwegians hide their brooms on Christmas Eve, afraid that evil spirits or ill-intentioned witches might steal them.


You have been warned, if you want to spend Christmas and New Year in Norway, evil spirits wander…

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