Japan - Kentucky Fried Christmas
For the Japanese,
traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken. It began 40
years ago, when the fast food chain successfully convinced customers
with an advertising campaign that fried chicken is the traditional
American feast. In the lead up to Christmas, a status of Colonel Sanders
dressed up as Santa is placed out the door and chicken is served in
special holiday packaging. It is so popular and well-marketed that
reservations have to be made long in advance.
Greenland - Eating rotten Auk
In Greenland, traditional Christmas
dinner is Kiviak. Kiviak is the raw flesh of an auk (a bird) that has
been wrapped in sealskin and buried under a stone for several months
until it has achieved an advanced stage of decomposition. Apparently, it
smells like old blue cheese and taste very pungent.
Ukraine - Spiders in your Christmas Tree
In Ukraine, Christmas tree
decorations include a fake spider and web. The spider and web are hidden
in the tree and the first child to find it on Christmas morning will
receive good luck for next year. The story is derived from an old tale
where a poor widowed mother could not afford decorations for her
family's Christmas tree. One Christmas morning she awoke to find a
spider had beautifully decorated the tree with its web, making for a
very happy Christmas.
Slovakia - Food on the Ceiling
In Slovakia, families enjoy throwing
their food before they eat it. At the start of Christmas Eve dinner, the
head of the family takes a spoonful of Loksa, a traditional Christmas
dish, and throws it up on the ceiling. The more of the Loksa that sticks
to the ceiling, the better the family's crop will be the following year.
Great Britain - Stirring the Pudding
Pudding is a very important Christmas
tradition of Great Britain. If you make the pudding right, it can
bring you luck as well. Legend has it that if you mix your pudding in a
clockwise direction and make a wish, the wish will come true.
Iraq - Wish upon a Bonfire
To celebrate Christmas in Iraq,
children read the nativity story while family members hold lighted
candles. When the story is finished, the family starts a bonfire. After
the fire has dwindled, everyone jumps over it three times and makes a
German - The Christmas Pickle
The story goes that when German
families decorate the Christmas tree, the last ornament to be hung is
the Christmas pickle. It's a green blown glass ornament that has been
passed down through generations. Parents hide it in a hard-to-see spot
and the first child who finds the pickle on Christmas morning not only
gets an extra gift but also good luck for next year.
Belgium - Naughty and Nice Santa Clause
Belgium boasts not one,
but two Santa Clauses, St. Nicholas and Pere Noel. St.
Nicholas is the "bad cop" of the duo, and is all about reconnaissance.
On Dec 4, he melts into the Belgian shadows to thoroughly investigate
the backgrounds of unsuspecting children with late night stakeouts. By
Dec 6, St. Nicholas has all the dirt, which he passes along to Pere Noel
in time for Christmas. The nice kids get presents, the naughty get
Venezuela - Skating to Worship
In Caracas, Venezuela,
people travel to their place of worship on roller skates. Children go to
bed the night before with a piece of string tied to their big toe and
other end out the window. As morning breaks, the streets are blocked off
and roller skaters tug all the strings as the sky fly.
America (New York) - Santacon
To celebrate the holiday season
in America, New Yorkers get together dressed head-to-toe as
Christmas characters. The city is filled with reds and greens, as Santas
and Elves spread holiday cheer for what is known as Santacon. Santacon
is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical
Santa Claus convention.