Fun Holiday Traditions from Around the World

The Giant Lantern Festival

Around the world, different cultures celebrate holidays around the same time, but how they celebrate their holiday can vary greatly!

Here are six of the most fun holiday traditions from around the world:

1. The Traditional Beach Party

In Australia, Christmas comes in the summer because Australia is in the southern hemisphere. So, Christmas celebrations include picnics, swimming and volleyball.

2. The Giant Lantern Festival

This festival is held each year in the Philippines on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando.

Eleven villages take part in the festival, and each village does its best to build the most elaborate lantern, and it can get quite competitive!

The festival has evolved from featuring lanterns around half a metre in diameter made from Japanese origami paper and lit with a candle, to lanterns that are six metres in size, made from a variety of materials, and with electric bulbs replacing the candles.

3. The Spider Web Tree

This is a tradition from the Ukraine, where they cover their Christmas trees in spider webs.

It is based on an ancient legend about a family that was so poor that they had to grow a Christmas tree from a pinecone.

The children had dreams of how they would decorate the tree, but when Christmas came, the family was so poor that the tree remained without ornament.

They woke up Christmas morning to find that spiders had spun webs in the tree’s branches, and each thread magically turned into silver and gold.

Today, Ukrainians decorate their trees with spider webs for good luck in the coming year.

4. The Witch Befana

In Italy, Befana is the one who gives gifts, not Santa Claus.

On the eve of Epiphany – January 5th, parents leave out food for Befana. The food is often broccoli with spiced sausage and a glass of wine.

Befana flies around the world on her broomstick and enters each house by chimney, with toys, clothing and candy for well-behaved children.

The morning of January 6th is when the children wake up to find the presents.

5. Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner

This tradition is from Japan. Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan, which is no surprise considering only 1% of the population is Christian.

But Japan still made a tradition up for the season. Which is a Christmas Day feast of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

KFC has a Japan website that posts a festive menu, featuring a Christmas-themed bucket.

Getting together with the family to eat a bucket of chicken is still getting the family together, so it is in keeping with the Christmas spirit!

6. The Caganer

In Spain, they have the tradition of the caganer, a male figurine with his pants rolled down in mid-squat. Yes, if you see a figurine you know exactly what it is. Caganer means the defecator.

Folklore threatens farmers with a poor harvest and bad luck if they don’t include a caganer in their nativity scenes. Tourists buy them up at Christmas markets, just in case.

Who doesn’t love holidays?