Christmas rituals around the world can be wonderful and unique, all at once and will hype the festive spirit in the air. Here’s a list of some Christmas celebrations around the world, that can only be summed as unique. By Ritika Dixit
Christmas, that one week at the end of the year which is wintry and cosy, both at the same time. The world is painted in red, white and lots of magical glow. What does Christmas signify to you? Is it a cosy winter evening by the fire while your family binges on the Christmas classic Home Alone? Or is it the scrumptious rum-soaked cake?
Just like people, countries around the world have their special traditions and meanings attached to the festivities of Christmas.
1. Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines
Held annually in the City of San Fernando aka the ‘Christmas Capital of Philippines’, the Giant Lantern Festival kickstarts in the second week of December with 11 barangays (villages) taking part in the festivities and pitching in to put up the most magnificent lantern. The lanterns glitter in kaleidoscopic patterns and usually go up to six metres in size.
While You’re There: visit the Iliad Bookshop close by to spend a cosy Christmas afternoon in the company of some rare books and cats that wander around and sleep on stuff.
2. Krampus, Austria
Young men dressed as St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, Krampus roam the streets of Austria in the first week of December. Krampus is one of the most chilling of Christmas rituals with rattling bells and chains. According to the Austrian tradition, Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children away in his sack.
While You’re There: stroll around the Salzberg Christmas market located in front of an incredible cathedral and enjoy the rich schedule of carol singing.
3. Kentucky Fried Christmas, Japan
The newly emerging tradition of Christmas in Japan is that of a Christmas day feast of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The festive menu on the KFC Japan website is a mouth-watering twist to the otherwise small and secular Christmas traditions of Japan that’s formed up of gift-giving and light displays.
While You’re There: try the hot onsen baths while snow watching in the mountains and the northern parts of Japan.
4. Roller Blading Christmas, Venezuela
Every Christmas eve, the streets of Caracas, Venezuela witness an unusual sight. The residents head to church early in the morning on roller skates. This Christmas tradition of Venezuela is just as popular as it is unique, so much so that the city streets are closed for cars on Christmas eve to ensure the safety of the residents who roller skate away to the church.
While You’re There: grab the traditional flavoursome Christmas dinner of ‘tamales’, a wrap stuffed with meat and steamed.
While some see it as a religious occasion, others might view it as a commercial holiday. But, we all know Christmas as the festival of spreading joy in our own sweet ways and traditions.