The country where you go for Christmas, you will find: bizarre traditions

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AGI – Christmas is almost everywhere joy, celebration and warmth in the family. But also a number of ceremonies and traditions that have their roots in time. You don’t have to travel far to realize this. Even while staying on our “old continent”, you can realize that behind the most beautiful celebration of the year, the celebration of Santa Claus, there are many curiosities. ‘Odds’ that are sometimes surprising, other times completely unexpected and in some ways incomprehensible.

In Sweden children, for example, wait with joy not only for their own Jultomt (the guardian elf of the house who brings gifts on December 25), but also Christmas goat, a pagan tradition of probably Viking origin that took root only here. In small towns and villages, these typical straw goats are hung on trees or decorate houses, a sign of good omen and protection of the family.

Christmas world bizarre tradition

© MATS ASTRAND / TT NEWS AGENCY / TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP

Swedish Christmas goat

This tradition is particularly noticeable (and “developed”) in the town of Gävle, north of Stockholm, where since 1966 the city council has erected a giant Christmas goat, a sort of urban Christmas monument. The curious thing is that on paper it is strictly forbidden (and even punishable by three months in prison) to set fire to a goat. However, every year the citizens indulge their ingenuity and cunning to try to set it on fire. Often the operation is successful!

Christmas world bizarre tradition

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Austrian Krampus

Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve can be just as spooky if you’re in Austria and Romania. In these countries goats or goats are not reconstructed from straw, but are figures disguised from flesh and blood. In Romania, men dressed like this (with wooden masks and goat skins on their backs) are accompanied by singers and march through the streets of cities, knocking on doors to bring good luck to those who live there. The disguise takes on a terrifying appearance in Austria where you can often come across during the holidays Krampusterrifying demonic creatures with long goat horns on their heads, “assigned” to haunt children who misbehaved during the year.

In the Czech Republic, another curious tradition applies only to “single” women and involves the so-called “shoe toss” on Christmas Day. The girls stand with their backs to the door and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the shoe lands on the front side of the door, it means that she will get married in the new year.

in PortugalStrangely enough, even at Christmas, the cult of the ‘dead’ prevails. “Consoda” is the most popular tradition during the Christmas breakfast: the family also sets the table for a deceased relative who can no longer share it. In some cases, leftover food left by the deceased is subsequently burned on a fire. such a great feeling to know that even after death you will remain a part of the family atmosphere. After all, as long as someone thinks about you, you live on.

Christmas world bizarre tradition

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French Galette du Rois

If in Italy the most curious tradition coincides with the arrival of “Befana” on Epiphany, also France January 6 presents its specialty: the Galette du rois ritual, a delicious Epiphany cake that hides a paper crown or a small wooden child. Happy is he who finds a surprise in a slice on a plate.

In Finland, on Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve) we will famously treat ourselves to a welcome sauna. Some families even decorate the wooden room where the whole family shares this moment of exceptional “warmth” with garlands or lanterns.

Christmas world bizarre tradition

© MATS ASTRAND / TT NEWS AGENCY / TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP

Traditional Catalan ‘Caganer’

However, one of the most bizarre traditions in the narrow sense of the word is tradition Catalan “caganer”, an ancient tradition dating back to the Baroque. These are characteristic figures of Catalan folklore, depicting political leaders (but also people in typical costumes) in a crouched position with the intention of defecating. Statuettes of this type, evidently considered good luck talismans, are placed in nativity scenes in this region, especially in the Valencian localities, as well as in nearby Andorra and the Canary Islands.

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