Gift-wrapped apples, a festive demon and rollerblading to church are some of the world’s weirdest Christmas traditions

FROM rollerskating to church to fried chicken for dinner, the best and most bizarre Christmas traditions from around the world have been revealed.

Despite much-loved British rituals for the festive season, a survey has shown that we would like to adopt some from our friends in other countries.


Iceland’s Yule Lads[/caption]

In Sweden the locals celebrate with a 13-metre high “Yule goat” or the “Gavle Goat” that is erected every year on the first day of Advent.

It made its first appearance in 1966 when an advertising consultant, Stig Gavlen placed it in central Gavle, Sweden.

One slightly less joyful tradition is  Austria’s Christmas demon known as Krampus – the terrifying horned beast who punishes naughty children.

AFP – Getty

The giant Christmas goat that is a prominent feature for most Alpine towns[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

The scary ‘Krampus’ – St Nicolas’s opposite who punishes the bad children[/caption]

However, he is celebrated in traditional parades such as Krampuslauf – Krampus Run – which sees men dress up as St Nicholas’s opposite in snow-capped Alpine towns.

Iceland’s Yule Lads – 13 cheeky troll-like characters who visit each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes depending on the child’s behaviour – and decorating windows with red paper pagodas, as seen in China, would also be welcome here.

Commissioned by Air China, the research of 2,000 UK adults found around a quarter believe Christmas traditions are the most important thing about Yuletide.

Getty – Contributor

In Japan they have fried chicken for Christmas dinner[/caption]

The research also found 56 per cent of those polled have or would go abroad to celebrate Christmas and enjoy different festive traditions for the first time.

Further to this, half enjoy learning about different customs from around the world as they help us understand and appreciate what Christmas is really about.


  • Chinese people exchanging apples wrapped in coloured paper, as the Chinese word for ‘apple’ sounds similar to the word for ‘peace’
  • Celebrating with a beach barbeque in Australia
  • Chinese people decorating their windows with red paper pagodas
  • The Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines
  • The ‘Cavalcade of Lights’ in Toronto
    The Christmas Eve ‘Grand Market’ in Jamaica
  • British people hiding a coin in the Christmas dinner
  • ‘Little Candles Day’ in Columbia
  • Iceland’s “Yule Lads”, 13 tricksy troll-like characters
  • The 13-metre-tall “Yule Goat” in Sweden
  • The Austrian demon known as the “Krampus”
  • People in Japan having fried chicken for their Christmas dinner
  • Hiding brooms in Norway
  • Visiting church on Christmas Eve in Venezuala – on roller skates

While 13 per cent revealed they look at how other countries celebrate the big day for inspiration.

This comes at a time when 48 per cent are concerned the true meaning is declining – and this is resulting in less interaction with friends and family.

China, India and Australia are among the countries those polled would like to visit over the festive period – along with the USA, Germany and Japan.

Sixteen per cent revealed spending Yuletide abroad would make it more enjoyable, while 15 per cent would also like to go oversees to do a spot of Christmas shopping.

Getty – Contributor

In China the word for apple sounds like peace[/caption]

The Air China research carried out by OnePoll, also found one in 10 would prefer to eat Chinese food on the big day – instead of over the traditional British Christmas dinner.

The research also identified the parts of China we’d most like to visit over the festive period – and Hong Kong top topped the list.

Second spot went to Shanghai, third to Beijing and fourth to Chengdu.

And when there, 42 per cent would most like to visit the International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – the largest ice and snow art exhibition in the world.

Almost a fifth would like to go to Yiwu Christmas market located in South East China’s Zhejiang province.

A spokesman for Air China said: “It’s fascinating to see all the fantastic ways people across the world celebrate Christmas.

“This is further shown in how half of Brits enjoy learning about other cultures’ customs to inspire new practices too.”

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