Would you ever roller skate to church? Decorate a live animal? Wear lit candles on your head? The answer is obviously YES. One of the best things about travel is the opportunity to participate in other people’s traditions, and then to incorporate them into your own life at home. There are SO many beautiful and interesting rituals that take place around the world in December, but these seven are extra fun. Scroll down to discover a few whimsical holiday traditions from around the world, and happy holidays!
Roller Skating to Mass in Venezuela
In Caracas, Venezuela the streets close down so that the population can safely roller skate to mass on Christmas morning. No one seems to know exactly how this fun tradition got started, but some speculate that roller skating was seen as a warm weather alternative to sledding.
KFC Christmas Meal in Japan
Ever since a KFC commercial ran in 1974 in Japan proclaiming “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (“Kentucky for Christmas!”) Japan has been obsessed with eating fried chicken at Christmastime. The tradition is starting to catch on around the globe, and these days the company boasts their highest traffic on Christmas Eve.
Llamas Wearing Knitwear in Peru
It’s not uncommon to spot llamas wearing knitwear on the streets of Peru, where people dress up the animals with knitted decorations around the holidays.
Saint Lucia Crowns in Sweden
On December 13th people in Sweden celebrate Saint Lucia, a 3rd century martyr who brought food and aid to Christians hiding in catacombs. According to legend, Lucia wore a candle lit wreath upon on her head to light the way. In Sweden, girls dressed as Saint Lucia wearing white dresses and wreaths with candles carry saffron buns and cookies through the streets in procession.
Twelfth Night Cake in England
An English tradition dating back to medieval times, Twelfth Night is typically celebrated around January 5th. In Catholicism, it marks the coming of the Epiphany. A traditional Twelfth Night cake has a decorative crown on top, and a bean hidden somewhere inside of it. Whichever guest is served a slice of cake containing the bean is crowned the “king” or “queen” of the evening
Breaking Plates in Oaxaca, Mexico
In Oaxaca, people gather near the Cathedral in the center of town at the end of the holiday season to break plates — a symbol of the year’s end, and a fresh start for the new year.
Wooden Christmas Pyramids in Germany
In Germany people decorate for the holidays with wooden Christmas pyramids, which are multi-tiered carousels featuring carved holiday scenes. Each pyramid has a fan on top, and the fan is “powered” by the heat from the candles on the bottom of the pyramid. Once the candles are lit, the Christmas pyramid will begin to rotate slowly. These pyramids come in all sizes, and there are even huge ones adorning the squares of small towns in Germany during the holidays.