Its officially Christmas Week! Welcome to Blogmas Day Twenty-One! How fast has this month gone? It’s honestly blown my mind! Last night I was looking up some Holiday Traditions from Around the World and found some interesting traditions – and some crazy ones too. So from Cyprus to Guatemala, here are my favourite Holiday Traditions from around the world!
First of all, thank you Vinn for filling me in on Cyprus’ fantastic holiday traditions. I loved reading your post and finding out some amazing things about Cyprus at Christmas time! As Cyprus is home to several ethnicities and religions, holiday traditions are pretty varied across the country. The Holy Cross Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox Church calendars have been synced to create a unity between the churches – so this means that many of the key dates and holidays throughout the year fall on the same date.
The Greek Orthodox tradition is to open gifts on New Year’s Day to honour the Greek Saint Vasilis who comes every new year to give gifts. Food is a key factor in Cypriot traditions, with many festivities revolving around meals. Melomakarona are a popular treat – cinnamon and orange cookies topped with a yummy honey syrup and a sprinkling of nuts. It’s traditional for children to make these delicious snacks with their grandparents and share the joy of baking together.
From December 26th to New Year’s Day, Bahamians celebrate Junkanoo, with dance troupes (of up to 1,000 people!) donning costumes and headdresses before performing in parades across the country. Prizes are awarded for various accolades including the best dance moves and craziest outfits!
On December 7th, Guatemalans ‘burn the devil’ – the devil is believed to hide in the darkness and dirt found in your home and so every year, Guatemalans sweep up all their mess and rubbish and form a huge pile outside.
A piñata shaped like the devil (often around 3 feet tall) is then placed on top before being set on fire. It’s believed that by burning this effigy, the Christmas season will be free from the devil, allowing participants to have a happy Christmas.
The legend of Krampus can be found across mainland Europe – instead of dishing out presents like Santa, Krampus is a mythological believed to scare bad children. In Austria, Krampus parades are held throughout December with costumes and fireworks to boot. On the side-lines, onlookers stay warm with a festive mug of mulled wine.
A Ukrainian fairy tale shares the story of spiders who decorated the tree of a poor family who couldn’t afford any proper yuletide ornaments. They decorated their tree with spiderwebs and when the sun rose on Christmas morning, the family’s Christmas tree glistened and shone as if it was decorated with lights and tinsel.
Today, many Christmas trees in Ukraine are decorated with spider webs which are made from a variety of materials from fancy crystal to pieces of paper!