Top five strangest holiday traditions

Alex Martin, Copy Editor


  1. Cemetery Tradition (Finland)

In Finland, it is a tradition to visit buried relatives at sunset on Christmas Eve.  Visiting your relatives is step one.  Step two involves placing a lit candle on the deceased relative’s grave.  Throughout the cemetery, the sight of glowing candles all around is a rather heartwarming view.  Even though this holiday tradition may seem odd, in Finland it is actually rather heartwarming.

  1. Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii (Kentucky for Christmas, Japan)

Ever since 1974 when KFC launched their marketing campaign, Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii, or “Kentucky for Christmas,” Christmas Eve in Japan has been spent enjoying a bucket of “Christmas Chicken” ever since.  But why chicken?  Traditionally, the majority of Americans eat turkey on Christmas.  When it came to be known that turkey was nowhere to be found in Japan, the tradition of KFC Christmas Chicken began.  The tradition has become so massive in numbers, that many order their boxes of Christmas chicken in advance to avoid long lines the day of.

  1. The Legend of the Christmas Tree and the Spider (Ukraine)

            As odd as it may seem, adding spiderwebs to the Christmas trees in Ukraine is a tradition within a legend.  The legend goes as follows: an old, poor widow lived in a small, cold hut with her children.  One day, the children decided they liked the evergreen tree outside of their home, and were excited about the idea of having a Christmas tree.  After bringing the Christmas tree inside, the poor widow and her children realized that they would have a naked tree.  The children and their mother went to bed weeping, only for the spiders in the hut to hear the cries.  The next morning, the tree was not left bare, but covered in spiderwebs, glistening from the light that shone in from the cracks in the hut.  It was a very magical sight, and ever since this old folklore has been around the people of Ukraine have kept its tradition alive.

  1. Night of the Radishes (Mexico)

Every Dec. 23, in Oaxaca, Mexico carved vegetables are five-star rating worthy.  Radishes are the main vegetable used, and that is why they are grown specifically for this special event.  The three-day festival consists of carved radishes including the nativity scene, Mayan imagery, local wildlife such as snakes and alligators, and intricate mission-style architecture.  On the final “Night of the Radishes,” (Dec. 23) the claimed winner of the best design receives the grand prize of 12,000-peso.

  1. Krampus (Austria, Germany, Hungary)

You better watch out, you better not cry…for the naughty children of Austria, Germany, and Hungary, there is Krampus.  Krampus is a beastly creature whose main job is to punish the poorly behaved children.  The beginnings of Krampus are common amongst German folklore, but more recently, there was a 2015 film on the Christmas devil.  Also today, many young people tend to dress up as Krampus and roam the streets in Austria, Germany, Hungary, and other countries to startle the small children.