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Christmas Superstitions & Traditions

December 26, 2013

The period between Christmas and New Year is thick with Christmas superstitions and traditions, dating from before Christianity itself.

Merry Christmas, dear reader! It’s that time of the year again.

Many traditions are the same all around the world, while others are very specific to each country.

This list will help you with what to do this and next Christmases to come.

1) If you are born during Christmas…

Those born in Christmas are considered fortunate by some, unfortunate by others. The reasons? They are both unlikely to die by drowning or hanging, however they can see spirits and ghosts more easily. And those born on Christmas Eve? Legend has it that although they are more lucky, on the 24th they turn into ghosts while they sleep. Those who want to avoid this should count the holes in a sieve from 11PM on Christmas Eve until morning.

2) Mistletoe

An all-around classic, the rules are very simple: if you find yourself under a mistletoe with someone else, kiss ‘em – otherwise, it will bring bad luck.

3) Eastern Europe: Gifts at New Year, Christmas on the 7th January 

In Russian Orthodox countries, Christmas is celebrated according to the Julian calendar. Also, the exchange of gifts happens not on the 25th or the 7th, but during New Year, and instead of Santa Claus, they are brought by Father Frost (D’ed Moroz)

4) Sweden: Burn the straw goat!

In Gävle, Sweden, a giant goat made of straw is erected every year to mark the beginning of the holiday season. And every year, vandals play all their cards to try and ignite the goat. Since 1966, the goat only lasted until Christmas 10 times!

5) Norway: Witch-proofing

Norwegian ancient belief says that on the 24th, witches and evil spirits emerge to steal brooms and take the skies. To counter that, all brooms and cleaning implements are hidden and shotguns are fired outside to scare the witches off.

6) Germany: Nice or naughty on the 6th December

On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, children leave out a shoe or a boot outside their door. The next morning, candy and small toys appear in them. Naughty kids get a golden birch next to the sweets.

7) Ireland: Guinness for Santa

Little is know about the maximum alcohol limits for sledge drivers in Ireland. Nonetheless, it is customary for Irish people to leave instead of cookies and milk some meat pies and Guinness beer.

8) Brazil: Secret Friend

In Brazil, near Christmas it is customary to do a game called Secret Friend at work, class or family. Names are scrambled and drawn out of a hat. Then, within an agreed price range, people must buy a gift for the person whose name they pulled out. Before Christmas, the group gathers again in a circle. Whoever is giving the gift must stand up in the middle of the circle and give a few clues about who will receive the presents, and finally announce their name and hand it over to them.

Whichever way you celebrate Christmas, these traditions are sure to spice up your holidays. When planning your way to your ideal festivities, head over to Trekeffect, plan your trip and share it with your friends and family! Happy holidays!

-Mariya Tugayeva

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Maria Tugayeva
Mariya is a Marketing guru and writer, with a world experience from living and growing up in different countries. Her work quote is: "In a word: pleasure. It's like, my pleasure in other people's leisure." -Daniel "Spud" Murphy, Trainspotting