Six Crazy Christmas Traditions From Around the World

Demons, Roller Skates & Fried Chicken

Christmas just got weird...

If you thought Grandma's yearly fruit cake was a weird addition to the festivities, think again. This is an exploration into some of the downright weirdest, wackiest and simply craziest Christmas and holiday traditions from around the world.

From parading down the street with a horse's skull on a stick to partying with a thousand Santas, you're in for a wild ride.

Merry (freaky) Christmas!

1. The Krampus

If you're a kid in traditional Austria, Christmas may be slightly more horrifying than usual. The Krampus is a mythical creature that visits families on Christmas with his counterpart, Saint Nicholas. If you've been naughty this year, you'll be visited by this half-goat half-demon creature that looks like something straight out of a horror movie.

Weighing in at a whopping 1.5kg, the pork schnitzel, side of large chips and 1 litre of beer, is one for only the courageous of the bunch.

The Krampus is still celebrated as an integral Christmas figure, making an appearance at ‘Krampusnacht', or ‘night of the Krampus' and similar holiday events in places like Croatia, Italy and Germany, where Krampus fans from all over dress up in the most terrifying costumes in reverence to the holiday monster.

2. Kentucky for Christmas

This nationwide Christmas tradition is the result of a marketing campaign gone great. In what's grown into a tradition for over 3.6 million Japanese families, KFC for Christmas is a real thing. Having Kentucky Fried Chicken for the big meal often has to be scheduled and pre-ordered weeks in advance in Japan, and many latecomers literally line up on the streets to get their hands on this fast-food favourite at Christmas.

How'd it come to this? KFC's 1947 campaign dubbed ‘Kentucky for Christmas' took off so massively, it became a national tradition to share a bucket of the Colonel's chicken on the holidays.

3. Roller Skating to Mass

In Venezuela, Misa de Aguinaldo or ‘Early Morning Mass' is celebrated in the capital city of Caracas in a peculiar way. Roller skating to the mass is a common practise here, with roads even being closed off in the early morning to let the crowds of skaters speed their way to the procession.

But it gets even weirder...

The night before the mass, kids often tie string around their big toe and dangle it out their window, so that early morning skaters can give them a tug when passing by. Where this wacky tradition came from, we're not sure. All we know is Christmas keeps getting weirder.

4. Mari Lwyd

This old folk custom from Wales is truly bizarre. Mari Lwyd involves a horse's skull, mounted onto a stick or shaft, carried by a person hidden under a large veil or sack. This creepy-looking creation is paraded around the streets by a team of men, who knock on doors and visit homes, proclaiming in song, that they wish to enter the home.

The traditional routine is for the household to refuse them admittance and make up excuses for why they can't enter. After a few verses sang and rejected, the act continues until the house runs out of excuses to not let them in. Finally, they agree to let the whole horseplay enter the house and give them food and drink

This ritual is truly one of the oldest and most bizarre, with its debated origins reaching as far back as pre-Christianity.

5. Christmas Goblins

The ‘Kallikantzaros' is yet another mythical monster that's tied to the Christmas tradition. In Greece, this goblin-like creature lives underground, but comes up to wreak havoc in numbers during the Christmas season.

Protecting oneself from these creatures is best done by outwitting them. The Kallikantzaros is a simple creature not able to count past the number two, so a simple colander left on the doorstep of a house is often bait enough to confuse these creatures, as they become puzzled trying to count the number of holes in the colander. Another way to stay safe from Christmas goblin-related trouble is apparently by leaving a fire lit in the fireplace, stopping the Kallikantzaros from entering the home that way.

6. Running of the Santas

This boozy festival is held every year in the USA. Thousands of Santas show up yearly for this huge party, held in numerous cities around the country. This massive gathering of Santas may look wild and boozy, but it's all for a good cause. The goal of the event is to raise money for numerous charities, all the while celebrating old Saint Nick.

With a Hottest Santa Contest, live bands, lots of bars and a whole lot of noise, this Christmas tradition is probably the largest collection of Santas in a single place at any given time.

Stay tuned for some wild Christmas festivities, awesome gift ideas you've never thought of and all the essential know-how you need to make this holiday season truly unforgettable.

Here at Catch, we're more than just Australia's favourite online superstore. Whether you're looking to go large and party this holiday season or wind down and take it easy with the family, Catch is the place to be for all things Christmas.

Ho, Ho, Ho!