December 25, 2023

Celebrating Christmas Around the World

It’s easy to get lost in our family traditions as they recur each year, bringing us closer to our loved ones and creating a sense of comfort in the familiarity they hold. And yet, it’s also worth taking a step back to consider how people around the world might celebrate a holiday like Christmas.

So let’s take a look at two unique traditions that are observed in different corners of the world.

KFC in Japan

Sometimes the results of an effective marketing campaign can last for years, as an idea becomes firmly entrenched in the minds of its participants and eventually becomes a tradition for the following generations.

It’s difficult to judge whether Takeshi Okawara knew that his novel marketing idea, “Christmas barrel of Chicken”, for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) – which was launched in the 1970s – would shape the lives of so many people.

These days, many Japanese families look forward to celebrating their day together with a giant bucket of deep-fried poultry. The fast-food outlet is reportedly so popular that many people place their orders well in advance to avoid standing in long queues on the day.

Krampus in Eastern Europe

Forget about getting coal in your stocking; Germany and Austria have a far more effective way of making sure that children stay good all year round. Ancient folklore tales from Eastern Europe will always carry a dark little twist to drive the point home.

While St Nicholas, who is also known as Father Christmas, visits the good children and leaves them the usual treasure trove of wonderful gifts, Krampus – a half-man, half-goat creature – comes along to drag the naughty ones off to the underworld.

These days, some people dress up as St Nicholas while others choose to let off a little bit of steam and don the horns of the fearsome beastly counterpart.