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Published 13th November 2019 by | OM&M News

Unusual Christmas Traditions

It’s amazing that whilst Christmas is known as a Christian holiday, people from all over the world embrace the festive season in some way or other.

We thought we would share how different countries celebrate in our latest article:

Irish Flag

Guinness for Santa


Whilst in England, we leave out a glass of milk and carrots on Christmas Eve, it’s tradition in Ireland to leave Christmas pies with a bottle of Guinness out for Santa.

Christmas Straw Goat

Swedish FlagThe Yule Goat


Thought to be the oldest tradition dating back to the 11th century, a town named Gvale in Sweden erects a giant goat made of straw to mark the beginning of the holiday season.

Every year vandals try to burn down the goat before Christmas Day, and have failed 10 times since the tradition began in 1966. The culprits will often disguise themselves as Santa or elves in order to get passed the guardians and ignite the straw monument.

Dutch FlagShoes by the fire


On December 6th, Children in the Netherlands leave their shoes, filled with carrots, hay and sugar, by the fire, so that when Sinterklass (St. Nicholas) and sidekick, ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (‘Black Peters’), arrive by steam boat, they are left with sweets and nuts, as a thank you, for leaving treats for the white horse, named ‘Amerigo’.

German FlagLeave a boot


Germany also celebrate Nikolaustag St. Claus Day on 6th December, and on the eve, children leave out a shoe or boot by their door in the hope for candy or small toys.

Gold Rings

Czech FlagTo marry or not to marry


On Christmas Eve, single women find out if they will marry in the following year, by performing an unusual ritual involving the throwing of shoes. A woman will stand with her back to her front door and then throw one of her shoes over her shoulder. If the shoe lands with the heel towards the door, then it is believed she will remain single. If the shoe lands with the front of the shoe pointing towards the door, then it is thought that she will move out of her parent’s house and make wedding preparations.

Japanese FlagKentucky for Christmas


Believe it or not, since 1974, it has been popular in Japan to have a KFC meal for Christmas dinner – thanks to KFC’s ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ campaign. It is so popular that reservations have to be made at the fast food restaurant!

Slovakian FlagHope for no mess


In Slovakia, a traditional Christmas dish, made from bread, poppy seeds and water, is prepared for Christmas Eve dinner, where it is tossed onto the ceiling. The amount of mixture that remains on the ceiling, the richer the family’s crops will be for the following year.

Coffee and Cakes

Greenland FlagCoffee & Cake


The Polar Inuits families have coffee and eat cakes at parties and exchange brightly wrapped parcels. Traditional presents include model sledges, a pairs of polished walrus tusks, and sealskin mitts.

Venezuelan FlagSkate to Mass


On the morning of Christmas Eve, in the capital city of Caracas, roads are closed so that people can roller skate to morning Mass. How cool is that?!

Whatever your Christmas traditions, we hope that you enjoy the celebrations this year. 

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Osborne Morris & Morgan is an award-winning and nationally-recognised firm of solicitors. Based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, our team of solicitors serve clients in the home counties and throughout the UK.

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