Christmas is back and with it come many traditions such as lighting the Christmas tree, visiting the church or mass during the day and a delicious meal with loved ones after opening a horde of gifts. Traditions differ around the world, with some being a little strange and others extremely strange. On this list are some unusual Christmas conventions that have been around for a long time.
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10 The Christmas book flood: Iceland
Iceland became independent from Denmark in 1918, but did not become a fully-fledged country republic until 1944. Relentless import restrictions, Inflation and rations during the Great Depression led to a shortage of many products in the country.
The only product that could be easily imported was paper, making books the gift of choice every Christmas. This tradition remains in Iceland. Every household receives a catalog of the books published this year. Citizens can then choose books for their loved ones at Christmas. Most stocks sell out between September and November. This is known as the "Christmas Book Flood".
The "flood" refers to the large number of books that hit the shelves during this period. The books are unpacked on Christmas Eve and the recipients love to start telling their new stories straight away, preferably with a good portion of chocolate nearby. Inevitably, the print media are crowded with book reviews as soon as the festive season ends.
9 Hanging Out With Santa's Sisters: China
In China, books may not be the most popular item on a certain wish list, but "Christmas Apples" are very popular gifts. The apples come with a picture of Santa and good wishes for the season.
There are also no traditional "elves" in shopping malls during the festive season. Instead, the women who accompany the various Santa Clauses across the country are referred to as Santa's friends or sisters who help distribute gifts. They are not only found in shopping centers, but also in parks and other public places.
8 Watching Donald Duck: Sweden
Sweden may have one of the sweetest festival traditions in the world. Every Christmas, too, families gather around their TV to see how Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas. The TV special is hosted live and contains clips from the 30s to 60s.
This means that no other activities take place during this program. Mothers don't cook during this time. Children do not eat during this time and it is never recorded for later viewing.
This tradition dates from the time when Sweden only had two television channels and had access to Disney content only during the holiday season.
7 Finding love and gifts: Czech Republic
A very old tradition in the Czech Republic says that an unmarried woman will throw a shoe over her shoulder and point to a door on Christmas Eve will get married next year. It is also said that halving an apple at this time and finding a core with four corners will bring bad luck, while five corners will bring joy and health.
There is also no Santa Claus who brings gifts to children on Christmas Day. Instead, the baby Jesus brings gifts and announces his arrival by ringing a bell. If children behave badly, they are said to receive no gifts, but instead receive a lump of coal on December 5 when they are visited by Saint Nicholas, an angel and the devil.
6 Christmas sauna: Finland
The heart of Christmas is family and loved ones who gather around a festive table with lots of good food and dessert. In Finland, families meet in a sauna on Christmas Eve to enjoy the well-deserved rest before Christmas Day comes.
Candles and lanterns and sauna oils create a festive atmosphere, but the sauna must first be cleaned from top to bottom. After the sauna, family members are best dressed for Christmas before opening gifts and eating delicious together. After many years of Finnish conviction, the sauna elf is also given gifts.
5 Hiding brooms from flying witches, Norway
Traditional Christmas celebrations take place in some parts of Norway, where families dress in their best clothes and make Christmas tree decorations on Christmas Eve. This is also the day when they have their main festive meals and open gifts. Then they sing Christmas carols and run in two concentric circles around the Christmas tree.
Some believe that Christmas Eve celebrations are an opportunity for witches to get out of hiding in search of brooms. For this reason, all brooms are hidden during this time.
4 Day of the Little Candles: Colombia
On December 7, Colombia celebrates the Immaculate Conception, which also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season.
That night usually candles and / or lanterns are placed in houses on windowsills and outside on balconies and verandas. Candles are also placed in public places such as parks where they can be seen from a distance. The next day you see households with a white flag bearing the image of the Virgin Mary. Even graves are lit on December 8 as part of this holiday celebration.
3 Christmas in the New Year: Egypt
In Egypt, Christians adhere to a strict fast for 45 days, during which they do not eat meat or dairy products. The fast lasts from November 25th to January 6th. Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7th. Fasting is broken on Christmas Day after traditional church service when families eat soup, meat, rice and special Kahk cookies.
Before Christmas celebrations, churches and houses are decorated with lights and nativity scenes, as well as Christmas trees. The churches are decorated with lamps and candles, which are supposed to represent the candles with which Joseph protected Mary in the crib during the birth.
2 Dried Thorn Campfire: Iraq
On December 24, Iraqi families celebrate Christmas by choosing a child in the family to read the crib story while the other family members listen and hold candles. After reading, a pile of dried thorns are lit and turned into a campfire.
While the thorns are burning, hymns or psalms are sung. If they burn to ashes, it means happiness for the family. However, the family members and everyone who is with them must jump over the ashes three times to fulfill a wish.
A campfire is also lit in churches while a baby Jesus is carried through the building on a purple cushion. The service ends when the bishop blesses the church. The blessing is called "breath of peace".
1 Let the fire burn: Scotland
There is a multitude of Christmas traditions in beautiful Scotland. These include the usual ones such as fireworks, Christmas pudding and a Christmas service. However, some Scots keep the older traditions alive by burning the branches of a rowan tree to ensure that bad moods disappear between relatives, while others dance around a campfire or carry burning barrels on their heads.
Fire is an integral part of the Christmas festivities in Scotland, and many families light fires throughout their Christmas day to ward off evil spirits. They also hang mistletoe branches in the doors to keep evil away and invite happiness.