And you thought your family had some weird holiday traditions! It turns out, putting lights on a tree and waiting for a fat guy to come down the chimney just might be the most normal winter customs around. Especially when you compare that to these wacky Christmas traditions celebrated all over the world.
From family trips to the sauna to city-wide celebrations of guys taking a dump, this list of the absolute weirdest winter traditions will shock and delight you. For instance, did you know that the Japanese like to celebrate with a customary feast of KFC? Or that Bavarians herald the arrival of the baby Jesus by shooting off handheld mortars while wearing lederhosen?
Some of these crazy Christmas celebrations have been around for centuries, while others were developed over the last few years. But they all have one thing in common: they make about as much sense as putting coal in a stocking.
If you’re sick of your old Christmas décor and boring holiday lights, try changing things up this yuletide. Adopt one of these foreign holiday customs and your Christmas will be better (or at least weirder) than ever.
Catalonia: Displaying a Pooping Man in the Nativity Scene
Meet Caganer, a Catalonian tradition with a bowel movement problem! The peasant is often depicted wearing a traditional Catalonian barrantina hat, and well, relieving himself outdoors.
While nativity scenes in the U.S. tend to stick to the traditional stable, manger, and baby Jesus, European scenes often display an entire pastoral landscape. What would a model of Bethlehem be without a man defecating on the ground?
Caganer, who's name literally means "the crapper" or "the sh*tter," has been brightening up holiday festivities since the 18th century.
Japan: Chowing Down on KFC
Just one more way America has ruined the universe made the world more awesome. Thanks to heavy marketing in the early 70s, Japanese families have learned that the best way to celebrate the holidays is with a giant bucket of fast food fried chicken.
South Africa: Feasting on Deep Fried Bugs
Not exactly as appetizing as your typical Christmas ham. On Christmas day, South Africans celebrate the birth of Jesus by chowing down on deep-fried Emperor Moth caterpillars. Yum!
Norway: Hiding All the Brooms
Those lucky Norwegian kids never get nagged to help clean up when they're home for the holidays. That's because on Christmas Eve, all brooms are hidden in case they are stolen by evil spirits.
Fun fact: evil spirits LOVE sweeping.
Spain: Beating the Christmas Poop Log
What is it about Catalonians and poop? Another popular tradition in Catalonia involves Tio de Nadal, a "pooping log" decorated with a face and blanket that's left halfway in a fire and beaten with sticks. Merry Christmas!
Venezuela: Roller Staking to Church
What do you do when you're late for church and have no motorized form of transportation? If you're in Venezuela, you skate!
Catholics in Caracas have developed a strange (and dangerous?) tradition of roller blading to early morning Christmas mass. Some neighborhoods even close the streets to cars.
What's more, from December 16 to December 24, kids tie a string around their toes before bedtime and hang it out the window. The next morning, pious skaters tug on any string they see hanging.
Greenland: Enjoying Some Delicious Whale Blubber
It's not all that surprising that the Christmas delicacies of the northern nation include raw whale skin served with blubber (called Mattak). Another delicacy? Kiviak. That's 500 dead auk birds (with beaks, feet, and feathers in tact!) stuffed into seal skin and fermented for seven months.
Mexico: Decorating with Radishes
Want to really party on Christmas? Take part in December 23's Noche de los rábanos, a festival in Oaxaca that involves carving giant radishes into elaborate scenes and figures.