The GoEuro team is made up of a variety of different nationalities from across Europe, each of whom has their own different, perhaps unusual, traditions for the Christmas season. With the season fast approaching, we compiled some of the more unorthodox Christmas traditions from across Europe.
Yule need to beware-ing the right clothes
The Yule Cat is said to be the pet of Grýla, the giantess who eats naughty children, and her sons the Yule Lads, distribute gifts to the good children during the Christmas season. You can find portraits of the Yule Lads all around Reykjavik during Christmas time. We highly recommend indulging in a visit to one of their infamous hot springs while there too.
Big Name on Krampus!
Another tradition involving Krampus is Krampuslauf, which includes a parade of adults dressing up as the Christmas beast and accepting schnapps from strangers. Travellers curious about Krampus should visit Salzburg Christmas market, where the festive fiend himself makes an appearance. While in Salzburg, be sure to thoroughly explore the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, it’s a must see.
Ghost of Christmas Fast
This tradition of leaving out leftovers overnight for dead ancestors also occurs in other Eastern European countries, such as Lithuania and Estonia.
The Mummers are traditionally invited in to the households they show up at and are offered food, drinks and to sing and dance with the family. Be sure to travel to Latvia to experience this Christmas tradition, perhaps to Riga, where you can also enjoy their Christmas market in the Old Town.
Don’t be left out of the Poop
The song the children sing while beating the log with sticks includes the lyrics “If you don’t poo well, I’ll hit you with a stick! Poo log!” You can find your very own Tió de Nadal at Barcelona Christmas markets, while also taking in the famous Gaudi buildings.
It’s Befanas, B-E-F-A-N-A-S!
La Befana is widely celebrated across Italy. This holiday season, make sure to check out Piazza Navona market in Rome, where La Befana is prominently on display, while the national Befana festival is held in Urbania.
Witches be Cray!
Other Norwegian Christmas traditions include the Pepperkakebyen, which is the biggest gingerbread town in the world. Be sure to check it out and get in the Christmas spirit in Bergen!
If you liked it, then you shoe-da put a ring on it
Single women can also test out their marriage potential in the coming year by putting a cherry tree branch in water on December 4th. If this branch blooms by Christmas, the woman will get married in the next year.
No more Mr Nisse Guy!
Nisse’s “jokes” can include breaking things or putting them upside down, one story even involves Nisse killing a cow.
Don’t be Con-shoesed
Beginning with St Nicholas Day, December is a month long Christmas celebration in Germany. You can take in the holiday season with the Christmas parades in Hamburg, which feature Father Christmas and his elves.
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