Christmas traditions in Europe is all about rekindling the Christmas spirit, surrounded by our loved ones and old Christmas customs. You probably can’t even imagine the scene without a Christmas tree, Santa Claus or a VERY ugly Christmas jumper.
Well, believe it or not, some people in Europe can’t imagine this time of the year without a small model of a man having a poo or a demon-like beast trying to catch you in order to beat you up. Because you know, it’s CHRISTMAS!
We have chosen the top 5 weirdest Christmas traditions in Europe whose main characters are not Santa or the Christmas tree.
5. Jolakotturin or Jola Cat: Iceland
Forget about all the cute photos you took of your cat and look at this:
Okay, I agree, it’s still cute, but hey- it’s not the fluffy kitty you want to squeeze anymore. The Jolakotturin has a different mission: it attacks people who didn’t provide themselves with new clothes before Christmas and devours them. Sounds like a great excuse to go shopping and spend all your money!
4. Mari Lwyd: Wales
Mari Lwyd (pronounced ˈlɔɪd/) – another lovely tradition you want to adopt. It is an old Welsh custom which was almost forgotten, but thanks to a few enthusiasts it is being brought back to life. To cut a long story short, it’s a horse skull with glass eyes mounted on a pole. People go around the town with it while singing Christmas carols and trying to scare others so that they give them some sweets.
3. Caganer: Catalonia, Spain
Translation: a model of a pooing man you must have at home to feel the Christmas spirit. In fact, caganer is not just any man. It can also take the form of the celebrities, presidents and even the Queen of England. Over the last years, the models of famous people became especially popular and you can find them nearly everywhere in Catalonia. It also makes a cool souvenir from your trip to Catalonia (note: it’s a Catalan tradition). By the way, there is also a peeing man, called “pixaner”. What can I say, having lived in Catalonia for 11 years, I still don’t feel like adopting this tradition.
2. Krampus: Bavaria (Germany) and Austria
This is my favorite bizarre Christmas tradition is Europe! If you like horror movies then forget the cinema right now and book your flight to Austria or Bavaria. It’s like watching a horror movie in 4D. Krampus are demons who help Nikolaus (Santa Claus actually grew out of this tradition) with his duties and whilst Nikolaus gives children presents and sweets, Krampus punish them if they haven’t behaved themselves. Before and during Nikolaustag day, Krampuslauf takes places in many Austrian and Bavarian towns – Krampus just run around and scare everyone in their path – watch out, because if you really annoy them they could hit you with a stick!!
1. Tió: Catalonia, Spain
And the Oscar goes to Tió! Catalan kids don’t get presents from a bearded man with a sack full of presents- that’s too mainstream- they beat up a log with a stick instead waiting for it to poo presents while singing songs. In the beginning of December children start taking care of the log by feeding it and covering him with a blanket to keep him warm and on the Christmas day grateful Tió delivers sweets and other presents.