It’s Christmas time and people all over the world are indulging in merriment. Let’s have a look at several interesting ways in which various countries celebrate Christmas: 1. Britain: Swimming their way to Christmas!
To kick start their Christmas celebrations, some Britons come together, strip their clothes and take a dip in the freezing Thames river! The event, usually flocked with the youngsters, takes place annually and continues till the Boxing Day. It is known as ‘The Annual Christmas Thames Swim’.
2. Italy: So long Santa, we’re waiting for the witch!
Children in Italy are not so eager for the arrival of jolly old Santa and his reindeers on Christmas Eve. Instead, they patiently await the friendly witch known as Le Bewana, who brings toys, gifts and all sorts of goodies for the good children of Italy! The myth goes that Bewana was invited to see baby Jesus when he was born but she declined. So, in her regret, the good witch brings all sorts of gifts every year hoping to see Jesus.
3. Ukraine: No Christmas without spiders!
If you ever visit Ukraine during Christmas time, don’t think they’ve mistaken the holiday for Halloween. Ukrainians decorate their Christmas trees with elaborate artificial spiders and spider webs which you can find hanging in all the nooks and corners! The spider webs symbolise prosperity for the coming year. The tradition comes from a mythical tale where a spider wove a web around the plain tree of a poor family to decorate it. When morning came, the white strands turned into precious metals, thus making the family rich.
- Sweden: What’s a Christmas without burning a goat?
The small Swedish town of Gavle builds a huge goat stuffed with straw as a part of Yule time tradition every year, the goat represents the Christmas spirit. However, since 1966 vandals have been burning down the poor goat, the goat has been burnt so many times since then (25 times) that the people have started considering it a tradition. Every year the goat is built and people of Gavle wonder whether the goat will be burnt down that year or saved. The burning of the Gavle goat happened so often that bookmakers began making bets for the survival of the goat since 1988.
5. Norway: Hide your brooms!
For people of Norway, Christmas Eve is the time when witches and evil spirits roam at night searching to steal their brooms and ride about in the town. So, the Norwegians hide way their brooms before sleeping in order to keep the good and merry spirit of Christmas intact.
Image Source: [https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/6437533159]