Christmas is one of the most popular holidays worldwide with numerous traditions. For Christians, Christmas marks the annual celebration of Christ's birth. In general, Christmas is a festive holiday celebrated on December 25th with seasonal music, lights, trees, Santa Clause, reindeer, and gifts, but for many around the world that's not all.
Each year on December 25th, people all over the world gather together to celebrate Christmas. The holiday is named for the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Christmas is also celebrated by many non-Christians each year around the globe.
Christmas traditions are countless and take place all over the world. Some are common and well known and others are just plain odd. One of the most popular is expecting Santa Claus to deliver presents delivered by his reindeer, and made by his elves. But that is certainly not the only one. Some Christmas traditions include:
Christmas Stockings: The tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace is believed to have begun hundreds of years ago when an old farmer was concerned about his daughter’s futures. Saint Nick heard about the old man’s problems and knew he was too proud to accept charity so he snuck into the house at night and filled the daughter’s stockings, that hung over the fire to dry, with gold so they could be married.
Christmas Pickle: The tradition of hiding a glass pickle in the Christmas tree dates back to medieval times. It is believed that an evil innkeeper trapped two children in a pickle barrel and St. Nicholas found the children and released them. Today, whoever finds the glass pickle is the first to open their gifts or they receive a special gift.
Mistletoe: The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to the Greek festival of Saturnalia. In England if a girl stands under the mistletoe, or kissing ball, she can not refuse a kiss. Also, some burn the mistletoe on the 12th Night or the young men and girls that kissed under it will never marry.
Wreaths and Boughs: Decorating the home with wreaths and garlands made of evergreen was a sign of hope of the coming spring and renewed life. This practice dates back thousands of years celebrating the winter solstice.
Feast of the Seven Fishes: is a tradition commonly [practiced by Italian Americans. It is also called the The Vigil. It is a meal of seven different seafood dishes on Christmas as you wait for the birth of Jesus. The number 7 is said to represent Christ on Earth. The Divinity is 3 and the Earth is 4.
Strange Christmas Traditions From Around the World:
Krampus: Krampus is said to be the companion of St. Nicholas, however, his job is to scare children and hit them with sticks. Krampus Night is held on December 5th and men dressed as Krampus run throughout the city hitting and scaring children. He looks like a devil and carries a wicker basket on his back to collect bad children.
El Caganer: One of the strangest Christmas customs is the Caganer or Defecator. The Caganer is a little statue of a Catalan farmer defecating. This little statue is placed in Nativities in a discrete location. Children make a game of finding the Caganer in the elaborate nativity scenes. The origins are a bit cloudy but it is practiced mainly by the Catalan people in Spain.
La Befana: The Christmas Witch La Befana is said to bring presents to all of Italy’s children on January 6th. Why January 6th and not December 25th? The Epiphany is celebrated even more than Christmas in Italy. Legend has it that the Three Wisemen in the Bible stopped at her home looking for the baby Jesus. They asked her to join them and she refused. After realizing her mistake, the old woman set out to find the baby Jesus offering goodies to little children hoping they were the baby Jesus. So every year on the eve of the Epiphany she goes out looking for the baby Jesus.
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