For many, Christmas is a time to gather around with friends and family, exchanging gifts and meals. However, for those in many parts of Europe, the Christmas season is a little less cut and dry. From visits from witches to giant burning goats, Christmas in Europe can have decidedly strange traditions and customs. Here are just four of those quirky Christmas traditions found across the continent.
Austria: In Austria around St. Nicholas Day, you can expect to see scenes of a scary nature. The country promotes the tradition of Krampus, a devil-like figure representing the opposite of Santa. Rather than spreading gifts and good cheer, Krampus carries away bad children in a basket. In many villages and towns, Austrians will dress up in costumes of the terrifying Krampus to scare the children. Some spots in the country even feature Krampus parades and events each December.
Iceland: While most children in the world might delight in having one Father Christmas, Icelandic children have a much better situation. In Iceland, there isn’t just one Santa but rather 13 Yule Lads. Every night for 13 days leading up to Christmas, a different Yule Lad visits children, bringing treats right to their windowsills. Those children who have been bad are gifted a potato. The Yule Lads descend from mountain trolls. Their mother is the terrifying Gryla who reportedly comes out with her sons to capture and boil the bad children. Icelanders don’t just have Gryla and potatoes to worry about. They also must fear the Christmas Cat, an enormous black cat who eats anyone that doesn’t get a new piece of clothing for Christmas.
Sweden: You might gather around the TV on Christmas to watch a classic holiday film like White Christmas, A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life. However, in Sweden, nothing says Christmas Eve like Donald Duck. Like clockwork, at 3 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, many Swedes gather around to watch Disney cartoons. In addition to Disney, the city of Gävle also celebrates Christmas in quirky fashion. In the central square of the town in the center of Sweden, a giant goat proudly stands, that is until someone destroys it. The 13 meter tall goat is usually vandalized or burnt to a crisp before Christmas. In fact, Gävle’s Christmas goat has only survived just over a dozen times since its beginnings in 1966. You can watch the live web cam of Gälve’s goat to see his status throughout December.
Italy: While you would imagine most children want nothing to do with a witch at Christmas time, Italy’s tradition of la befana takes the scary out of witch. On the night of January 5th, la befana, meaning the witch, visits the children of Italy, gifting them treats and gifts. La Befana is featured throughout the Christmas season in store windows. In addition to the tradition of La Befana, Italians also feast on seven fishes on Christmas Eve. Nothing says Christmas like a little eel and octopus for dinner.
Don't forget to 'LIKE' us on Facebook!
Get new posts delivered by email:
Top Travel Deals on RSS
7 Sound Suggestions for Listening to Live Music in LouisianaComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
The state of Louisiana is home to a rich musical tradition. Blues, funk, jazz, zydeco, rock 'n' roll, country – it's all-American music and every style has its roots in this corner of the world. Headed down to Dixie for a taste of live music but in a jam as to where you should go? Here's a quick list of great venues across the state to help you play it by ear like a pro....read more
Filtered Travel: 4 Ways to Instagram-Plan Your VacationComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Filter or no filter, Instagram is perfectly suited for travelers looking to plan or those who are actually traveling currently. Just as other social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest can be useful for trip planning, here are a few tips to help you use Instagram to enrich your travels....read more
Happy National Ice Cream Day! 5 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Chillest Dessert AroundComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
National Ice Cream Day –also known as literally the perfect excuse to eat a heaping scoop of ice cream –is this Sundae (pun intended). To celebrate, here are five things BuzzFeed scooped up about our favorite frozen dessert....read more
3 Things to Do in Kyoto, JapanComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Kyoto is on my top ten list of favorite cities I’ve visited. From the historic temples to the top-notch restaurants, I was completely enthralled with Kyoto’s beauty and depth. I can’t wait to get back there. Until I do, please enjoy these three quintessential Kyoto activities for me, okay?...read more
7 Obscure Historical Terms for Gettin’ LuckyComments: 0Rating: 0 / 0
Who else is planning to dance the Paphian jig this weekend?...read more
California: CST #2090295-40, Nevada: SOT #2007-0081, Iowa: SOT #883, Washington: SOT #6027859380010001
Some of the content posted herein are the views and opinions of the individual blogger's and do not represent the views and opinions of OneTravel. It may be the case that OneTravel is partnering with a particular travel supplier mentioned in a blog post, however, all views and opinions expressed herein by parties other then OneTravel are by the respective bloggers.
© 2014 W K Travel, Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright for all material appearing on this website is owned by W K Travel, Inc. Persons accessing this website are authorized to view and print material from this website for information purposes only. Any other use of this material is restricted to non-commercial purposes and must include this copyright notice.
W K Travel Inc. owns the following Trademarks and Servicemarks appearing on this website:
OneTravel, OneTravel.com, and 1Travel. Trademarks and servicemarks for all other products and services appearing on this website are the trademarks and servicemarks of their respective owners.