As we are well and truly into the festive season with Christmas approaching, there’s no doubt that your cherished Christmas traditions are underway! But what about countries that have lesser-known traditions? Take a look at these four Christmas traditions that you may not have heard about before.
¡Feliz Navidad! Prior to 22 December, you may bear witness to long lines at lottery ticket booths all over Spain. But why? El Gordo is Spain’s biggest, and most festive, lottery of the year. Its name translates to ‘the fat one’ and the jackpot is split equally between all winners. Tune into your TV on 22 December where children from a Madrid school randomly pick the winning numbers and sing them out. Groups of family and friends will often go in together on the same ticket, sharing the money and festive spirit if a win is on the cards. An entire town shared a ticket in 2011 and won, splitting 950 million euros between themselves!
Towards southern Ireland you will find the town of Carrick-on-Suir in the Tipperary County. Eight years ago, they became famous for holding the first-ever Christmas tractor parade – a magical procession of decked out, festive tractors! Not only do they bring a sparkle to the holiday season, but they also use the opportunity to fundraise for a local cause.
While Christmas trees are commonplace in most countries around the world, this is not the case in Greece! Enter: Christmas boats, which tend to usurp Christmas trees. Christmas boats are more likely to be found in the smaller towns and villages of Greece, so keep your eyes peeled as night-time falls. Over many years of history, Greek wives and children would decorate boats as a heart-warming beacon to welcome their husbands and sons back from the sea.
Your regular Christmas turkey is not the norm in Hawaii! Christmas is celebrated with a true island twist – with a luau and a pig that has been roasted over an open fire. This tradition dates back to the very first Christmas held on Hawaii’s sandy shores in 1786 whereby a merchant ship sent a search party ashore to find food for their Christmas dinner. They hunted down a pig to roast and were also gifted with a roast pig by the island’s natives after a gift swap…herein the legendary, and tasty, roast pig for Christmas dinner.
What are some quirky Christmas traditions that you have?