As December arrives, the anticipation for the upcoming Christmas festivities begins to make people excited. It is one of those festivities which has transcended across borders of nations, cultures and ethnicities and has truly become a festival encasing a lot of diversity in its meaning, significance and celebratory traditions. Some of these traditions are quite interesting as they reflect the ethos of the particular area they belong to. Let's have a look at 5 such unusual ways Christmas is enjoyed across the globe.
Gavle Goat of Sweden
A large Yule Goat has been erected at the centre of Gavle's Castle Square since 1966. Its origin lies in Pagan traditions of Scandinavia and is considered an important symbol of Yule, a celebration of the Winter Solstice. Its significance changed over time, and today it is considered an important symbol of Christmas celebrations in Sweden. Miniature versions of the Yule Goat are also popular Christmas tree ornaments.
Spider Webs of Ukraine
Instead of the glimmering lights that usually adorn trees during Christmas around most of the world, Ukrainian trees would rather be seen covered with cobwebs. This tradition is based on a local legend according to which, a poor widow and her kids couldn't afford decorations for a tree they grew from a pine cone. On Christmas day, they saw their tree covered in cobwebs, which were transformed into gold and silver through the sunlight falling onto them.
Miso de Gallo of Venezuela
On Christmas Eve, Venezuelan Christians go to the midnight mass called 'Miso de Gallo'. People roller-skate to churches to attend it. Originating in the 1960s, the tradition survives in Venezuela even today. In fact, it is so popular that Police forces are often deployed to deter traffic from blocking the paths of the roller-skaters going to attend the mass.
Broom hiding of Norway
In this Nordic country, a popular tradition associated with Christmas is the hiding of brooms in houses. It is rooted in the belief dating back centuries, that evil spirits begin lurking around on Christmas day in search of brooms to ride on.
Christmas Saunas of Finland
In the freezing cold country of Finland, people believe that every sauna has its own 'saunatonttu', meaning 'sauna elf', who everyone must respect. The sauna is also associated with purity. Saunas are generally embellished with candles, lanterns and scents to prepare them for the holiday season. Families often bathe in these saunas together to soak in the peaceful vibe of a Christmas afternoon, before going back home for a lovely dinner.