19 Christmas Traditions From Around The World That You've Probably Never Heard About

A dinner for two at KFC. Really, Japan?

Sometimes it can feel like the entire world celebrates Christmas the same — we decorate a tree, shop for last-minute gifts, cook an enormous amount of food, and spend most of the Christmas Eve by secretly glancing at the TV screen.

OK, you might go caroling or snag a kiss under the mistletoe ...

But the truth is, there's a much wider range of Christmas and New Year's customs that most of us haven't discovered yet. However, with the help of this list, it won't be long before we do!

Artist Marie Muravski collaborated with the jewelry brand Vashi to create a list of unusual romantic Christmas traditions from around the world.

Check them out below and spice up this year's holidays with a fun new experience!


Austria — a cherry blooms.

On the fourth of December, St. Barbara's Day, a single cherry twig is placed in a glass of water. If it blooms before Christmas Eve, good luck and a marriage are likely to follow.

Belarus — the rooster decides.

Piles of corn are placed at the feet of unmarried women before a rooster is let loose. Whoever's pile the rooster picks shall be the next one to get married.

Catalonia — the Christmas log.

The Caga Tio is a cheerful, hatted log character that Catalans "feed" with sweets during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, they beat him with sticks to take back the treats.

Czech Republic — shoe tossing.

Single women test their chances of getting married in the upcoming year by throwing a single shoe over their shoulder. If the toe points toward the front door, there will be wedding bells.

Finland — molten tins.

On New Year's Day, people gather to pour molten tin into buckets of cold water. Resulting shapes are used to predict the future. Hearts and rings are sought after by those looking for love.

Greece — burning branch.

Boys place a cedar branch and girls, a white cherry branch over the fire. The branch that burns the fastest is seen as a sign of good luck and impending marriage.

Haiti — shoe full of straw.

Children place straw-filled shoes underneath the Christmas tree in hopes that Santa will take the shoe and leave presents in its place.

Italy — fancy pants.

Both men and women wear colorful underwear on New Year's Eve to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Japan — dinner for two at KFC.

Japanese treat Christmas much like Valentine's Day and the most popular way for lovers to celebrate is at KFC. In fact, it is so popular that reservations are needed.

Mexico — night of radishes.

On the 23rd of December in the city of Oaxaca, families come together to carve the nativity scene figures out of radishes. The finest ones are put on display in the town square.

Philippines — ball of cheese.

After Midnight Mass, loved ones get together to enjoy a huge feast known as Noche Buena. The king of delicacies on the table is the "kesi de bola," a ball of cheese covered in wax.

Poland — drawing straws.

During Wigilia, the Christmas Eve Supper, straws are placed underneath tablecloth to symbolize the birth of Jesus in the manger. Guests take turns removing pieces of straw: green symbolizes luck or marriage, yellow — another year of singleness.

Portugal — gone but never forgotten.

During Cosoda, the traditional Christmas morning feast, an extra seat is set at the table so that spirits of the departed can join the festivities.

Sweden — almond in the pudding.

Whoever finds the almond within the Ris à la Malta (rice pudding) shall marry within a year.

United Kingdom — kiss under the mistletoe.

A druid symbol of fertility, kiss under the mistletoe was popularized in the 18th century England. Its magic continues to be felt at Christmas parties all around the world.

Ukraine — spider's kindness.

The legend has it that upon hearing a widow's lament that she can't afford to decorate her Christmas tree, spiders spun their beautiful webs all around the tree. These days, a spider is hidden on the tree for good luck. Some believe that tinsel has its roots in this tale.

United States — pickle on the tree.

It is believed the tradition stems from the Civil War, when Private John C. Lower, fearing starvation on Christmas Eve, begged his captor for one pickle. He was convinced that the act of mercy saved his life and thus, the tradition was born.

Venezuela — get your skates on.

Families and loved ones spend early mornings of the week before Christmas roller-skating to Misa de Aguinaldo, early morning Mass.

Worldwide — New Year's kiss.

The origin of kissing at midnight remains unknown, although some sources say it might be the Ancient Roman Festival of Saturnalia. Regardless, romantic partygoers across the world are keeping the tradition remains intact.

What's your Christmas tradition? Share with us!


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