The Philippines during the holiday season is known for its simbang gabi. What about other countries then? Here are some Christmas traditions from some parts of the world.
Hungry like the wolf
This delicacy isn’t reserved for the Christmas season, but we might as well talk about it since it’s so…unusual. Ever thought about stuffing dead birds into another dead animal? Well, think no more, northern Greenland’s got that covered. This bizarre dish is actually simple. Greenlanders collect around 400 auks and stuff it inside the hollowed body of a seal. Then they press out air from the auk-seal stress ball and cover it with seal grease in order to prevent spoilage. Finally, they cover it with rocks and wait it out for approximately 3-18 months. The fermented auks can then be eaten raw sans the feather. This fermenting method helps sustain the locals during harsh winter or in the event of a food shortage. According to the internet, the smell is pungent and it tastes like matured cheese. (Source: gizmodo.com)
All I want for Christmas is…new clothes
This mythical creature is of Icelandic origin. It is said that anyone who doesn’t receive new clothing on Christmas will be preyed upon by the giant Yule cat. It is believed that farm workers would have to finish their tasks and perform well in order for their masters to gift them new clothes which will then save them from the yule cat. So, it’s like scared straight, Christmas edition. (Source: www.thjodminjasafn.is)
Harry no sweeping
Long ago in Norway, people believed that on the eve of Christmas, witches and mischievous spirits come out to steal brooms to use as getaway vehicles. That’s all there is to it really. It just seems like an unusual thing to do on Christmas. (Source: www.travelsignposts.com)
He’s making a list and checking it twice
T’was the night before Christmas when a horned demon with a goatee visited naughty little Bobby’s house to whip him mercilessly till he was nice. Wait—this is not a Christmas story, but this is what Krampus does to naughty children. Allegedly the son of Hel in Norse mythology, this beast is celebrated in Austria and across German-speaking alpine region. Back then Krampus would visit towns on the night before December 6, an event known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. He might leave sticks for children, beat them with it, or just take them with him to hell. Whatever floats his boat, right? Nowadays, men (drunk most likely), would parade in towns dressed as Krampus to beat bystanders with sticks. (Source: news.nationalgeographic.com)
Eight-legged Christmas tree decorator
Good fortune tradition
Legend has it that a poverty-stricken family couldn’t decorate their Christmas tree because well I just described them. Anyway, the spiders in their house got sad, so they decided to weave their webs as decoration for the tree. In the morning when the glow of the sun touched the tree, the webs turned to silver and gold. To this day, Ukrainians decorate their trees with artificial webs to welcome good fortune. (Source: www.ukraine.com)
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