In Austria, Santa has an alter ego, a nightmarish demon called Krampus, who seeks out bad boys and girls every year at Christmas time. At the Christmas markets and festivals throughout the country, people often dress up as Krampus in order to frighten children.
7) Black Pete
In the Netherlands, Santa Claus has a mischievous sidekick named Black Pete, who is covered from head to toe in black soot. Black Pete is in charge of handing out treats to all the children. The kids are encouraged to leave hay for Santa’s horses in exchange for receiving candy, nuts, and other food.
8) Visiting The Dead
In Finland, Christmas Eve is somewhat of a solemn occasion where many families visit the graves of deceased relatives. In fact, this tradition is so widespread that an estimated eighty percent of Finns visit a cemetery on Christmas Eve, where they leave candles as a way of remembering their loved ones.
9) Yule lads
In case you didn’t know, a surprisingly large percentage of people in Iceland believe in elves or at least in the possibility of their existence. So it isn’t any wonder then that they’ve incorporated such mythology into their Christmas celebrations. The Yule Lads are thirteen different elves (these aren’t the small North American elves wearing green outfits, these are adult sized elves), one of which visits a child’s home each night of the thirteen days leading up to Christmas. These elves all have different personalities, ranging from friendly to menacing. The children are encouraged to leave their shoes on the windowsills, where they are filled with nuts, candies, and small gifts from these supernatural visitors.
10)A Bucket of KFC
In Japan, Christmas isn’t a holiday that is widely celebrated in the traditional sense. That doesn’t mean that the Japanese aren’t open to creating their own unique way of celebrating the season. In recent years, Yum Brands, the company that owns the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, has created a marketing campaign urging people to eat KFC on Christmas. The campaign has been widely successful, so much so that many Japanese have to reserve their Christmas chicken ahead of time in order to ensure availability. This is just one more example of how sometimes bizarre Christmas traditions develop.