10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

With the approach of Christmas, it is time to prepare gifts, means to relieve a hangover and take stock of another year. But what do we know about our holiday traditions? And what do we know about the Christmas traditions of other countries?

Many of the traditions associated with Christmas, are often very original and eccentric. Here we take a look at some of the most unusual Christmas rituals and legends of other countries of the world.

10. The boot of St. Nicholas and Knecht Rupprecht

In Germany, there are peculiar ideas about the "Lists of good and disobedient children." On December 5, in preparation for St. Nicholas Day, German children put their shoes out the door. Then St. Nicholas checks his golden book, which contains the names of good children. Good kids will find gifts, chocolates and chocolates in their shoes. Naughty children who are listed in the “black book” get a bundle of rozok - and, possibly, a visit to the companion of St. Nicholas, Knecht Ruprecht.

In other European countries, such as Austria and the Czech Republic, a colleague of St. Nicholas, Knecht Ruprecht, is better known as Krampus. Krampus is a half goat, received with impressive horns. During the festival, adults dress up in costumes of hoofed-horned creatures and even line up. Then they begin to catch on the streets naughty children with tufts of horn in their hands. Krampus - in theory - drags all the children caught in his lair, and then tortures them or eats them.

The image of Krampus emerged from Germanic pagan folklore and Norse mythology. This terrible creature is considered the son of Hel, the goddess of the underworld. The bizarre fusion of Christianity and the aforementioned traditions led to the appearance of Krampus at the festival.

9. Christmas cucumber

Christmas cucumber - this is probably the most unexpected decoration for the Christmas tree, however, it can be found in every American family. As a rule, the glass cucumber should be hidden among the branches of the tree. On Christmas morning, enthusiastic children are tasked with finding disguised decorations. The first to find a toy is given a gift and, naturally, a lot of happiness is promised in the coming year.

The history of the origin of this rare tradition is not known for certain, but there are several assumptions. It was once believed that this custom came from Germany, but the overwhelming majority of Germans did not even hear of such decoration.

Another suggestion concerns John S. Lawyer, an infantryman during the American Civil War. The story goes that Lawyer was captured and sent to the Confederation Sumter POW camp. On Christmas Eve, hungry Lawyer asked cucumber from one of the camp guards. It is said that the guard responded to Lawyer’s request, and this courtesy saved the life of the prisoner. Thus, this tradition was born. However, this story was refuted - on the grounds that the Civil War ended long before these glass ornaments became popular.

Many believe that in fact the Christmas cucumber was a clever marketing ploy — an attempt to market German-made glass ornaments.

8. El Gordo

Every year on December 22, Spanish residents are eagerly awaiting the drawing of the Spanish Christmas Lottery. The main prize - El Gordo (aka The Fat One) - got its name because of its huge size.In 2016, 70 percent of the proceeds from the sale of lottery tickets were spent on the payment of prizes, while more than 2 billion euros were distributed among the winners of the lottery. In recent years, the size of the main prize is 4 million euros. The Spanish Christmas lottery is considered the largest in the world in terms of the prize pool. Its popularity is associated with a large number of small prizes.

Tickets have a high price - as a result, the Spanish Christmas lottery becomes a common cause for many. One ticket costs 200 euros, and a tenth of a ticket (“decimo”) costs 20 euros. Therefore, it is not uncommon that family members, friends or co-workers buy a ticket for clubbing. Unlike many other lottery systems, participants must purchase pre-printed tickets, so they cannot choose their own numbers.

During the draw, a group of Spanish schoolchildren pulls out lottery balls from two golden reels - in one of the balls with winning numbers, in the other - the amount of the prize. Then the children announce the result. Due to the large number of prizes, the draw may last several hours, so schoolchildren pull balls in shifts.

7KFC - Kentucky Fried Chicken

When we think about the Christmas dinner, few people think about the traditional KFC menu. But for the Japanese, who are preparing for the holiday, the chicken from KFC is at the top of the mandatory list. This was due to KFC's extraordinary marketing strategy, and now their dishes are a Christmas dinner for many Japanese families. KFC Japan (KFCJ) launched its wildly successful Kentucky for Christmas campaign in the 1970s. At the same time, products such as Party Barrel, which were advertised as a substitute for traditional Christmas dishes, were produced.

Although in Japan only one percent of the population consider themselves Christians, Christmas is universally recognized and widely celebrated throughout the country.

In December, the Japanese KFC network is so overloaded that many make their orders in advance. Those who have not taken care of this are doomed to long queues. At Christmas, "Kentucky chickens" are bought by millions of Japanese customers, and many of the largest Japanese celebrities participate in the network's advertising campaign.

It is believed that KFC Japan owes its popularity to turkey shortage. Once, a group of tourists wandered into KFC who despaired of finding a turkey somewhere.Having learned about the difficult situation of the group, the manager of the country's first KFC branch, Takeshi Okavara, organized a Christmas party for them. An advertising campaign built on this was a hit, and to this day it is considered a model of modern marketing.

On Christmas, cakes and champagne are served with chickens. But we should not forget that all this needs to be ordered in advance.

6. Night radishes

On December 23, residents of the Mexican city of Oaxaca celebrate Radish Night. Locals compete with each other, creating the best composition of radishes and cutting out all sorts of creative work from these vegetables.

This tradition was born as a way to lure shoppers to the local Christmas market. The event turned out to be so popular that in 1897, the mayor of the city made the "Radish Night" an officially recognized event. Now for the radish festival even a separate land has been allocated.

Every year at the radish exhibition a competition is held, and the winner gets 12,000 pesos. Mexican artists create a variety of paintings, carving out of the radish Christmas scenes, holiday characters, animal figures, monsters and popular folk heroes.Locals even hang these complex works of art as decorations throughout the house.

5. Caramel cane

The history of the caramel cane is shrouded in mystery. We only know that in the XVII century in Europe they produced straight caramel sticks. As to how they turned out to be curved, there are three different versions.

One of them says that the crooked cane could have been the brainchild of a German choirmaster who invented it as a great tool to keep children from vanity during the Christmas service. The first caramel canes were straight and white like sugar sticks. The choirmaster saw them in the window of the pastry shop and thought that they would help him make the children behave quietly. Assuming that not all parents would be enthusiastic about his idea, the choirmaster asked him to make hook-and-pin sticks so that they resembled a shepherd’s cane. Then he presented them as a religious symbol that would remind the children of the three kings and the baby Jesus.

The second theory dates back to the reign of Oliver Cromwell in the mid-1600s. At that time there was a ban on Christmas decorations.It is said that opponents of the regime came up with this candy as a way to secretly recognize each other on the streets of England.

The third theory is the simplest: candy was given a hooked shape to make it easier to hang them on the Christmas tree. (The principle of "Occam's razor": "One should not multiply things without need.") It is worth noting that German Christians already decorated trees with food, and candy, among other things, quickly gained popularity.

In fact, no one knows how caramel canes appeared in their modern form. However, it is known that the owner of a pastry shop, Bob McCormack, made it popular to put patterns on them, which eventually led to the tradition of decorating canes with red and white stripes. Shurin Makkormaka introduced Keller's folding machine, thereby automating the process of candy production.

4. Defective figures

“Kaganer (katal. Caganer, lit.“ serun ”): without them, not a single Christmas tree in Catalonia. These are tiny figures that crouched under a Christmas tree, lowering their pants to empty their intestines. ”

Historians are not sure about the exact origin of this tradition, but it is possible that it appeared at the turn of the XVII and XVIII centuries.Tradition says that any Catalan who can not proudly show their own kaganer, expect unhappiness. Kaganer is a symbol of fertility, fertilizing the soil.

Traditionally, the kaganer was a peasant, but a number of options appeared in the modern world. The stores sell kaganers in the form of the Queen of England, Darwin, Freud, Princess Leia, John Snow and Santa Claus.

3. Christmas Fairy

In Italy, among the Christmas characters invariably present an old fairy - Befana. She, like Saint Nicholas, delivers gifts to all good children. The fairy makes this heroic feat on January 5, on the eve of the Christian feast of the Epiphany.

Moving on a broomstick, Befana penetrates the homes of well-educated children through chimneys and leaves them gifts. Naughty children receive rods or pieces of black coal instead of gifts.

The legend of the Christmas fairy has religious roots. According to the stories, the Three Magi approached Befan with a request to show them the way to the infant Jesus. Although Befana could not fulfill their request, she offered the place of the Magi to rest. Alas, the kind fairy refused the offer of the three wise men to follow them and meetSon of God. She still regrets her decision and wanders around the world, handing out annual Christmas presents.

2. Cooked sheep heads and fried caterpillars

The Christmas dinner of many South Africans is like the dishes of the heroes of the reality show “I am a celebrity ... Take me away from here!”: It includes fried caterpillars. In parts of Africa, the caterpillars of the Gonimbrasiabelina butterfly are considered an exquisite dish, and they often decorate the Christmas table.

But if insects are not yours, then you can arrange a traditional Norwegian meal for Christmas in honor of Christmas. Smalakhov is a dish from Western Norway, often served with potatoes, turnips and sausages. The main ingredient of the dish is a boiled sheep head with bulging eyes and a tumbled out tongue. An appetizing head can be cooked with or without a brain, in the first case it should be picked out with a spoon. Eyeballs, ears and tongue are all full-bodied edible parts of the dish.

1. Yule cat

The Joli cat (Jolakotturinn) is a fabulous monster from Iceland that preys on those who are poorly dressed. Bloodthirsty cat eats those people who can not afford to buy new clothes on the eve of Christmas.It is believed that the tale was intended to intimidate the locals and stimulate them to shock work. The idlers, on the other hand, were to meet with a killer cat — a beast that is larger than even the tallest building.

With his attentive eyes, Yolsky the cat inspects everything at home, checking what gifts the children have earned. Badly-behaved children do not receive clothes as a gift from their parents. Punishment? Rapid death from the paws of a growling cat.

If someone thinks that the Yule cat is not enough to turn an Icelandic child into a screaming neurasthenic, you can recall his friends. The cat lives in company with the giante, cannibal Grila and her sons, the "Yule boys." Grila hunts naughty children and throws them into his stew. True, the “Yule guys” just steal food, frighten juvenile delinquents and put rotting potatoes on them on the windowsill.

In the 18th century, there were so many stories about “Yule guys” that the Danish rulers of Iceland forbade their citizens to recount them. Initially, there were 50 guys, but over the years their numbers dropped to 13. The nature of their jokes has also changed.They became akin to mini-Santa Claus, and began to distribute gifts to obedient children.

13 days before Christmas, an Icelandic child puts one shoe on a window sill. Then the “Yule guy” for each of the 13 nights before Christmas carries gifts. However, this does not cancel Yule cat.

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  • 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends

    10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends 10 of the most amazing Christmas traditions and legends