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. John Lewis advert: UK
This tradition has only emerged in the last decade. Every year in the UK, the nation looks forward to the Christmas advert from the department store John Lewis appearing on their TV. This advert is more popular than the others as it is usually particularly heart warming and captures the true meaning of the Christmas spirit. The songs used are often covers of existing songs by famous singer such as Ellie Goulding and Lily Allen. The 2013 advert is one of the most popular of all. See for yourself why these ads became an annual tradition:
3. Caganer: Catalonia, Spain
Translation: a model of a pooping 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”.
2. Krampus: Bavaria (Germany) and Austria
This is one of the most bizarre Christmas traditions 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
Although Catalan kids get presents from a bearded man with a sack full of presents, they also have another character that bring them Christmas treats. 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 Christmas day grateful Tió (after a good beating) delivers sweets and other presents.