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Christmas Alternatives & New beginings

Christmas in Catalunya

El Caganer


Nobody’s really sure where El Caganer comes from, but he’s a staple of the Catalan Christmas nativity scene. The name translates directly as ‘the crapper’ and this small figurine appears in nativity scenes as a lovingly sculpted and painted figurine of a peasant defecating in the corner of the otherwise recognisable scene!

Although many of us would consider this as disrespectful, the figure of El Caganer is an incredibly popular and longstanding custom in Catalunya dating back centuries and is a firm held tradition to this day.



Christmas in Japan

Kentucky Fried Christmas

KFC Santa in Japan

Not many people have ovens in their kitchens in Japan; the cuisine doesn’t call for it and space is at a premium. So when Christmas comes round and the traditional roast turkey is hard to come by, locals tried to come up with the closest approximation for their expat friends… which turned out to be a bucket of KFC chicken.

What began as a sweet and respectful attempt to replicate overseas traditions, unexpectedly became become a major phenomenon. Now you’ll see the streets of Japan lined with people waiting to collect their pre-ordered KFC.

The fast-food chain quickly latched onto the potential, rolling out a nationwide marketing campaign in the 1970s and even though less than 2% of Japan is Christian, it’s now a huge phenomenon. KFC even offer a “premium” whole roasted chicken that will set you back a whopping 5800 yen – that’s £40!

If you want to experience the Christmas culture find out more about our holidays to Japan.



Christmas in Sweden

Yule Goat

Some nations put up a Christmas tree, some decorations, but the town of Gavle in Sweden creates a 40ft tall goat made out of straw. And every year, without fail, someone tries to burn it down.

Yule Goat

The Yule Goat tradition has been going strong for over 50 years. But each festive season, like a red rag to a bull, people will try to set the sculpture on fire.

It’s become as much of a tradition as the goat itself, with ludicrous heist style plans to remove it – including one attempt in 2010 which involved a helicopter to kidnap the goat. The goat has survived the last three consecutive years; can it make it four in a row?


These are some of the most unusual Christmas traditions around the world.


  • Bad Santa | Austria. ...

  • A Cobweb Christmas | Ukraine. ...

  • Colonel Santa | Japan. ...

  • Pickle in the Tree | Germany. ...

  • Roller Skate Mass | Caracas. ...

  • Festive Sauna | Finland. ...

  • Shoes by the Fire | The Netherlands. ...

  • Belfana the Witch | Italy.


Christmas owes its roots to the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which was a pagan festival which was celebrated from December 17-25 each year.


What do Pagans celebrate instead of Christmas?

Gift-giving and Saturnalia This was a pagan holiday in honour of the agricultural god, Saturn. Romans would spend the week of Saturnalia much like how we spend Christmas holidays today – feasting, drinking, giving gifts, and being joyful.


What is yule ? Yule is a noun meaning “Christmas, or the Christmas season,” which is the Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. However, yule can also refer to the celebration of the winter solstice that's observed in some Pagan traditions.


What was Christmas called originally? First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century.


Where in the Bible does it say Jesus was born on December 25?

Dec. 25 is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus's birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth.


In Germany, Santa has a darker, more distressing counterpart, and his name is Krampus.


When children have been bad, Krampus comes around, but he doesn't just leave coal or even take away presents. Oh no - instead he takes birch switches and actually beats bad children with them. If they've been particularly bad, he'll even scoop them up in a sack and take them away so that parents don't have to deal with them anymore.

But the holiday doesn't stop there. Every year on the night of December 5th, thousands of people will dress up as the horned, long-tongued, hairy, devil-like Krampus and run around the streets in a parade. This is called Krampusnacht. Traditionally, parents offer these revelers schnaps as a way of keeping them happy and keeping them from taking their kids. Assuming Mom and Dad want to keep you, that is - so be good, or else.


SOMETHING NEW FOR CHRISTMAS.

A brand new tradition that will start this year is the Christmas Day Afternoon - feet up, cup of tea and hot mince pie in front of the KINGS CHRISTMAS SPEACH. The Queen gave a speech every Christmas Day and this was a tradition within millions of homes all around the planet, and this year, with the passing of Madge - as some know here or ' The Queen' is you prefer standing on ceremony, passes to our new King Charles ( isn't that a breed of dog ? ) and I am sure he will say a big thankyou to his Mother, Queen Elizabeth and continue with the same as before. It will seem odd not having her on our screens as she has been for my entire life, and as the world changes and people and habits change, we find ourselves with a King on the throne and jolly good luck to him. He has waited long enough...


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Germany, Santa has a darker, more distressing counterpart, and his na

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