|This year, if you’re keen on doing something a little different for Christmas overseas, why not skip the traditional Christmas markets and head to these places and do as they do?|
We've previously looked at some strange hotels around the world. Now let's looks at some of the most unusual Christmas traditions you can experience!
1. The night of the Mexican radishes
In Mexico, December 23rd is officially Noche de Rabanos, or ‘Night of the Radishes’.
They take this celebration seriously – there’s food, there’s dance, there’s fireworks…and the best radish carvings are displayed in the city’s main square, with prizes for the best radish carving.
The radishes are especially grown for the event and some can be as heavy as 3 kgs or as long as 50cm.
The most popular carvings are the nativity scenes of course, along with animals and Mayan imagery, and many people buy them to display in their homes.
What started out as a ploy by merchants to lure shoppers to the town plaza before and after Christmas church services became an official celebration in 1897!
2. Christmas and Bananas in India
Don’t have a Christmas tree or bored of the standard pine version?
Don’t fret, you can still enjoy the fun of decorating a tree - do as the Christians (25 million of them) do in India, and use banana or mango trees instead!
That’s right, in the absence of fir trees or pine trees, you’ll find bananas and mango trees in India decorated with baubles and lights to celebrate the festive season!
3. Skate to a Venezuelan Christmas
What do toes tied up with string and skates have to do with Christmas?
Well, in Caracas, Venezuela, the tradition is that you go to sleep on Christmas Eve with a long piece of string tied to your toe, and leave the other end of the string outside your bedroom window.
Why? Well, because the streets are closed off to cars until 8am, so that people can roller-skate to the early morning mass AND tug on any string they see hanging out of windows!
And if you don’t wake up from that, fear not – firecrackers are also lit and people shout ‘Jesus is Born!’ through the streets. Who needs an alarm?
4. Bathtub Christmas carp in Slovakia
In Slovakia and some other European countries, the traditional main course is not turkey, but carp. And the tradition is that the carp must swim in the family bathtub for 2 days before it’s made into dinner.
Kids give the carp a name and treat it like a pet, and unless they have a shower in the house, people can’t bathe…
After its 2 day swim in the tub, the carp is sliced into cutlets so that the shape resembles a horse shoe for good luck, then breaded, fried and served.
The carp’s scales are put under everyone’s dinner plates, and after the meal, the scales are put into wallets for luck until the next Christmas.
5. Finland’s Sauna for everyone
The sauna has a very important place in Finnish society, it’s considered a holy place where many important acts of life are carried out and is a symbol for purity.
They also believe that a sauna ‘elf’ lives there to protect it and to make sure that people behave themselves.
So at Christmas Eve each year, families will go to their sauna and enjoy a nice relaxing soak together - certainly a great way to ease any Christmas stress!
They do need to leave the sauna before sunset though, because it’s reserved solely for the enjoyment of the spirits of dead ancestors after that time.
Who knows, you might enjoy these traditions so much, you could convince your family to make it your own family tradition!