christmas traditions around the world

7 Unique Christmas Traditions Around The World

Christmas traditions vary across the world, from roller skating in Venezuela to pints of Guinness left out for Santa in Ireland. Whether you’re looking to incorporate a new and unique tradition to your own family gathering or simply curious, these are some of our favourite Christmas traditions from continent to continent.

Unique Christmas Traditions Around The WorldHow do these rankings work?

1. Sweden

Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built in the centre of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has also led to another “tradition” – people trying to burn it down. Since 1966, the Goat has been burned down 29 times.

2. The Netherlands

Children in the Netherlands receive presents from Sinterklaas on December 5th, not Christmas Eve or Day.

christmas traditions around the world

3. Ireland

There’s no milk and cookies for Santa here – Irish families like to leave out mince pies and pint of Guinness for Old Nick.

4. Japan

Christmas isn’t a huge deal in Japan, but it’s home to one of the more unusual Christmas traditions in the world. Families enjoy a “traditional” Christmas Day feast of the Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC Japan even has a special festive menu! It all started when KFC began promoting ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ in the 1970s.

5. Russia

Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and Babouschka (a kind elderly woman/grandmother) brings gifts to children.

FILE PHOTO: The Russian flag flies in front of the Great Hall of the People before a welcoming ceremony for Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Beijing, China, May 24, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Pool/File Photo

6. Germany

Lucky German children get two sets of gifts. As well as Santa Clause on December 25th, St. Nicholas visits on December 6th (Nikolaus Tag) and leaves little treats like coins, chocolate, oranges and toys in the shoes of good children.

christmas traditions around the world

7. Venezuela

For some unique reason, locals in Caracas attend Christmas morning mass each year via roller skates. The tradition is so popular that all the city roads are closed to cars so that people can skate to church in safety. Families then come home to enjoy a Christmas dinner of tamales.

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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