Christmas is marked in a special way in each country where it is celebrated. From Russia to Greenland, all kinds of traditions take place Dec. 25 each year. To find out what goes down in homes around the world, check out our list below, courtesy of Today I Found Out and Love Home Swap.
1. Ireland: While American children famously leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, Irish kids put out mince pies and a bottle of Guinness.
2. Japan: Forget the suckling pig and cranberry sauce; Kentucky Fried Chicken is the traditional Christmas feast in Japan -- thanks to great marketing in the 1970s. The restaurant is so popular on Christmas Day that reservations are required.
3. Germany: Ever see a pickle ornament on a Christmas tree? It’s popular in Germany. The first person to find the pickle ornament gets an extra gift.
4. Norway: Norwegians believe evil witches and spirits emerge on Christmas Eve and steal brooms so they can ride in the sky. To stop them, all brooms and cleaning agents are hidden Christmas Eve and sometimes men fire shotguns to scare the evil witches and spirits away.
5. Slovakia: Before dinner can get started, the head of the family takes a spoonful of food and throws it at the ceiling. Usually it’s Loksa, a traditional Christmas dish made from poppy seed filling, bread and water.
6. Estonia: Families typically go to the sauna together on Christmas Eve.
7. Greenland: Residents from the icy country like to eat “kivack” on Christmas. It’s the raw flesh of 500 auk birds wrapped in sealskin that was placed under a rock to ferment for seven months. They also eat “mattak,” which is whale skin with some blubber still attached.
8. Venezuela: Because the roads are closed, people roller skate to Christmas Mass.
A Christmas pickle pic.twitter.com/3AoQPCEDZY
— the xmas banana (@eczemaria) December 2, 2015
9. Czech Republic: Single women stand with their backs to the door and throw a shoe. If the heel lands toward to door, she will remain single for another year. If the front of the shoe points to the door, she may move out of her parents’ house and should start making wedding arrangements.
10. Italy: Instead of Santa Claus, Italian children wait for the witch, La Befana. She delivers candy and toys Jan. 5.
11. Catalonia: The figure of the Caganer is included in the nativity scene, along with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men. For those who don’t know, it’s a statue of a defecating man.
12. Netherlands: Instead of Santa Claus, children wait for “Sinterklaas” and his helper Black Pete on Dec. 6. If the kids left shoes filled with hay and sugar for Sinterklaas’ horse, he will refill the shoes with candy and nuts.
13. Ukraine: Instead of tinsel and lights, Ukrainians decorate their trees with spider webs.
14. South Africa: It’s custom to eat deep-fried caterpillars of the emperor moth.
15. U.S.: Ever heard of SantaCon or Running of the Santas? It’s unique to America and involves adults -- dressing in Santa suits and elf outfits -- taking part in a pub crawl.
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