Merry Christmas to everyone. Some of us will be celebrating Christmas, others Hanukkah, others Kwanzaa, others the Winters Solstice. There are lots of holidays to celebrate this upcoming season and everyone has a different way of celebrating family, life, and the coming new Year.
Each family has lots of different traditions. While we discuss some of the strangest, craziest Christmas Traditions as Today its Christmas. So lets begin it.
This is Bananas
In India, only 2.3% of the population is Christian. But that still means that about 29 million people there will be celebrating Christmas this year. It’s often a smaller celebration than in other places around the world, but all the basics are covered–including Christmas trees.
Most often, it is a fir, pine, or spruce tree that serves as Christmas tree. In India, however, it’s much easier to get a hold of a fruit tree instead. For this reason, most families who celebrate Christmas are decorating a mango or banana tree. Some families will use mango leaves as decorations in their homes as well.
Weird Food Traditions
And we’re back to weird food traditions. Greenland is, contrary to its name, not green at all. It’s incredibly far north and during winter, the sun sometimes won’t rise at all. Christmas trees have to be imported, because they simply won’t grow here. To combat the darkness, families often put a bright star in their window in the Sun’s absence.
But none of that compares to what we’re about to tell you. There are two traditional Inuit dishes eaten around Christmas: Muktuk and Kiviak. Mattak is a strip of whale skin with a strip of blubber, most often served whole and raw. Some people say it tastes like fresh coconut. We don’t know, we’ve never tried it. But if you have, please let us know.
Kiviak is something entirely different. It is a seabird called an auk, in the same family as puffins. The auk is wrapped in sealskin and sealed with seal fat. After the prep work is done, the whole thing is hidden away under rocks for three months in total. Then, around Christmas, the kiviak is unearthed and served. The fermented bird is supposed to taste like strong cheese.
It’s a delicacy and eaten for weddings and birthdays also. And you thought it took you a long time to cook Christmas dinner.
It’s not uncommon for families to gather around a Christmas cake after dinner. And who hasn’t had to dutifully eat a fruitcake their grandmother made a decade ago and is only now remembering to give to you?
It seems like holiday spices are traditional, cinnamon and nutmeg are not uncommon. There are lots of caramel flavors and dried fruit to go around. Not to mention the rum you might be a little heavy handed with in some of those fruitcakes.
But in some countries, a lighter fare is much more common. In Japan and South Korea, where Christmas is a much smaller affair, since most of the population is not Christian, they celebrate Christmas with a cake we might be used to seeing in the spring. The cake is made with a soft sponge and layered with whipped cream and topped off with ripe strawberries.
Only about 1% of Japan’s population is Christian, but that doesn’t stop everyone from indulging in the Christmas atmosphere. In fact, the Christmas cake is so prevalent, you can find a slice of it in your iPhone emojis.
Santa is Real
And, of course, he lives in Canada. Lots of us wrote to Santa when we were children. We asked for bikes, we asked for dolls, we asked for money, we asked for a better sibling. No matter what you asked Santa for, can you imagine your excitement if you actually got a reply?
Well, it turns out that Santa has a real address. It’s H-zero, H-zero, H-zero, North Pole, Canada. If your get your children to write a letter and send it to this address by December 11th, Santa will actually take the time to write a personal reply. But if you live outside of Canada, make sure to get those letters in as quickly as possible–Santa is busy!
Stir Up Sunday
In the UK, some families are beginning their Christmas baking on the 26th this year. As a way of kickstarting the Christmas festivities, families participate in what’s called Stir Up Sunday. This is the final Sunday before Advent, about five weeks before Christmas.
On Stir Up Sunday, families gather in the kitchen to prepare a traditional Christmas pudding, often a spiced and boozy cake filled with dried fruit that keeps for five weeks in the refrigerator.
Stir Up cakes have 13 ingredients, to honor the disciples and Jesus. When all the ingredients are assembled in a bowl, each family member takes a turn stirring the batter, making a wish with each turn. Finally, some families will add silver coins to add luck for prosperity, or a ring for a happy marriage in the new year.