Some traditions can be bizarre like the pooping figure placed in Nativity Scenes in the Catalan part of Spain.
Hidden in the back corner of every traditional Catalan nativity scene sits the Craganer. The tiny figurine of a man with his trousers down, pooping, represents fertility and good fortune and has been part of Catalan Christmas traditions for at least two centuries. More recently, numerous business have started to produce figurines that resemble famous officials, such as Barack Obama.
My Flash Dance friends will enjoy this one. The Burning Goat in Sweden.
Every year since 1966, the Swedish town of Gavle celebrates Christmas by placing a giant yule goat in the middle of the town square. However, arsonists have managed to set the massive straw animal on fire so many times that lighting the temporary monument has almost become a tradition of its own.
I bet there is some goat screaming here, lol.
Czech women predict on Christmas whether they will marry in the next year by throwing a shoe over their shoulders while standing with their backs to the house door. If the shoe lands with the heel toward the door, the woman will stay single for another year.
For Dutch and Flemish children, Christmas comes twice. On Dec. 6, Saint Nicholas travels to the lowlands to hand presents to all the children who behaved well during the year. His black peters are around to help AND to punish those little ones that deserve a lesson.
In the Ukraine Christmas trees are trimmed with fake spiders and webs. Legend has it there once was a poor widow living with her children in a shack. One year, the family managed to obtain a Christmas tree but had no money to decorate it. On Christmas morning, however, spiders spun webs in the tiny tannenbaum, and when the children awoke, the tree appeared to be full of silver and gold.
So whether you eat sugarplums, which are not really plums, mince meat pie, which in most cases does not contain any meat, Christmas pudding, which is not pudding but a cake, or toast to your health with not so healthy eggnog enjoy your Christmas traditions. They are what makes the day special.
Personally I like panettone. One awaits my morning coffee tomorrow.