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Different international Christmas traditions

JOBURG– From devil-looking creatures to getting boots with rotten potatoes, here is a list on how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas.

When it comes to Christmas in South Africa, braais are brought out, and water babies are in their swimming costumes and sunscreen.
There are family visits with a big lunch and malva pudding for dessert.
Other countries have different traditions and celebrations other than the man who wears red with a white beard. Here are some different ways in which Christmas is celebrated in other countries:

  • The Giant Lantern Festival takes place in the Philippines every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando, also dubbed as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Eleven villages participate in the festival to build the most intricate lantern. They are made from a plethora of materials, and are illuminated by electric bulbs sparkling different kaleidoscope patterns.
  • Japan is not typically known for celebrating Christmas as it is not a national holiday. However, that does not deter citizens from finding a way to enjoy it. Instead of families coming together for a turkey dinner, they go out to a local Kentucky Fried Chicken for a tradition that began in 1974. It is so popular that some people order their boxes months in advance, or stand in line for almost two hours.
  • Iceland, similar to the United States with a 12-day celebration, celebrate 13 days before Christmas as children are visited by the 13 Yule Tides. On each night, children place their shoes by the window and go to sleep. When they wake up the next day, they either would have been gifted sweets if they are good, or shoes with rotten potatoes if they are bad.
  • Austria, and other Alpine countries have a legend that Krampus, a devil-looking creature, joins in their St Nicholas festivities on 6 December. Austrian children have a list of their deeds, good and bad. Children who are good get rewarded with sweets, nuts and apples. Bad children, however, must worry what Krampus will bring them on Christmas morning.


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