For many in our Explore & More community, December means it’s time for the holiday season. However, no matter which holiday is being celebrated, everyone not only in our community but across the globe has their own unique traditions that bring a sense of joy and nostalgia. This month, the ‘Culture Corner’ write-up sheds some light on some fun international holiday customs, to showcase the variety of cultural practices, and perhaps lead your family to start a new holiday tradition!
One of the most lighthearted international holiday traditions comes from Spain, and more specifically the Catalan region. Here locals celebrate with the “Tió de Nadal,” or Christmas log, “Tio” as it is referred too as, is a log that has a face drawn on it, and wears a blanket, that pops out gifts. ‘Tio’ is fed snacks throughout the month of December in anticipation of Christmas Eve when children hope it will pop out gifts.
Contrasting the lovable Spanish ‘Tio’ celebration is the Eastern and Central European (Austria, Bavaria, Northern Italy, Czechia) celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas. On December 6th Santa Claus is accompanied by the Krampus, while Santa delivers the familiar presents, the Krampus comes to reprimand children who have misbehaved.
Traveling to Japan one can observe Ōmisoka where on December 31st the Japanese people prepare for the upcoming New Year by cleaning, and tidying their homes and themselves, in hopes to start the year with a clean slate. This New Year’s Eve tradition is often accompanied with a meal of udon or soba noodles, as the eating of the long noodles symbolize the action of crossing into the new year.
These are just 3 examples of interesting and fun holiday traditions from around the world. Highlighting these holiday customs was intended to be a lighthearted showcase of global cultural traditions while encouraging reflection on the oddities that our families may partake in during the holiday season.