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5 fascinating Christmas traditions from around the world

We all have our own traditions when it comes to Christmas…


We all have our own traditions when it comes to Christmas: perhaps you like smoked salmon for breakfast, or play Monopoly after lunch, or maybe you wait until after lunch to open your presents. These traditions, however, are a little different.

Deep-fried caterpillars

In South Africa, deep-fried emperor moth caterpillars are considered something of a delicacy, and are served as a starter on Christmas Day. Although we’ve not actually tried them – we promise – they are surprisingly nutritious and are said to taste similar to tea! 

A plate of deep-fried caterpillars

Banana and mango Christmas trees

Around 2% of India’s total population identify as Christians. Although this isn’t a large percentage, when you consider India’s massive population of around 1.2 billion, the Christmas-celebrating Christian population suddenly becomes more significant. The coastal state of Goa has a large Christian population, who decorate banana and mango trees in festive finery when Christmas comes around, given that fir and pine trees are few and far between in India!

Night of the Radishes

We’ve all seen a nativity scene or two, but in Oaxaca, Mexico, they do nativity with a difference. Each year, on December 23, residents come together to make nativity scenes from radishes. This tradition, which is called Noche de los Rábanos (Night of the Radishes), dates back to the 18th century when the Spanish introduced radishes to Mexico from their native China.

One year, a few radishes were missed during the harvest. When they were eventually discovered, they had grown large and misshapen. The radishes were sold at a local Christmas market on December 23, and carved into novelty shapes and figures for a nativity scene. In 1897, the mayor of Oaxaca created a competition to make the best radish nativity scene, which is still going strong today! 

KFC for Christmas

In 1974, KFC ran a marketing campaign in Japan called ‘Kentucky for Christmas’. The campaign worked so well that eating KFC at Christmas is now a Japanese tradition. KFC’s sales in Japan increase by up to 500% during December and it’s not unusual to see people queuing out of the door on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with employees dressed as Santa!

Spiders and cobwebs on the Christmas tree

In Ukraine, Christmas trees are rather uniquely decorated with artificial spiders and cobwebs. This tradition has its roots in local folklore and a woman who could not afford to decorate her Christmas tree. According to the story, when her children woke up on Christmas morning, they came downstairs to discover the tree covered in webs and spiders. When the sun came up and the light hit the tree, the webs turned to gold and silver and the family were rich beyond their wildest dreams! Therefore, it is believed 

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