Cultural Festivities: Exploring Festive Traditions Across The Globe
The Christmas period is perhaps one of the most widely celebrated events on the global calendar, with participants across the world coming together to experience a range of festive traditions both new and old.
Nothing is as it seems
One thing is for certain, there’s no such thing as a typical Christmas! Whether you’re a pigs-in-blankets kind of family, a presents-opened-after-dinner parent or even a Christmas jumper critic, families and festive habits come in all shapes and sizes, and so do regional Christmas traditions! From Christmas cards originating in the UK through to Ukraine’s 12-course Christmas Eve supper, join us on a journey of exploration as we uncover some of the world’s most interesting, most bizzare and most magical Christmas traditions.
Exploring The Unusual
When most people think of Christmas, it includes a jolly Santa ready to impart gifts upon the waiting children of the world. There might be elves, a snowman or two and perhaps even a few reindeer.
Mention Kiviak and you’ll probably get a few raised eyebrows. Greenland’s Kiviak is a winter tradition that few will experience, but holds incredible significance and nutritional benefits for the Inuit people. With up to 500 auks sealed inside a seal carcass and left to ferment for up to 18 months, this traditional delicacy is often eaten outdoors as it’s supposed to be a bit stinky!
Perhaps a tastier treat is the delicious edible giveaways our Interactive Edible Dance Act can provide for the Christmas connoisseur!
Finger Lickin’ Christmas Dinner
Keeping on the topic of food, Japan’s very own Christmas time tradition is to enjoy a festive KFC instead of a traditional Christmas dinner. Due to the very low number of Christians living in Japan, Christmas traditions were late coming to the region and subsequently, a gap in the market was identified by a savvy franchise owner!
Christmas Trees at Home
The Germans are the originators of bringing Christmas trees into the household, with legend stating that Martin Luther first perpetuated this practise in 1536 after being mesmerised by the beauty of stars glittering through the branches of a tree one night. Bringing a tree home, he decorated it with candles to show his children how beautiful this looked. Later, Queen Charlotte of England brought this tradition to the UK when she married King George, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Bonus Fact: Baubles are often red and round due to people originally decorating their trees with apples, which would be gifted at carolling events or on Christmas day!
Our Christmas Tree Stilt Walkers are ideal for embracing the spirit of this festive tradition, bringing an incredible roaming option to life in front of guests.
Reindeers With Red Noses
A modern tradition seen across the festive period is to see reindeer with red noses in the media around Christmas! Celebrating his 80th birthday this year, ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer ’ was originally penned by copywriter Robert Lewis May as a way of enticing customers to the retail giant Montgomery Ward. With 2.6 million copies distributed in the first year, it’s safe to say Rudolph was a success!
Our Walkabout Reindeer Characters are ideal for capturing the spirit of the festive season whilst enchanting both adults and children alike. Perfect for generating photo opportunities, our interactive reindeer are the ideal roaming companions for your next event.
The delicious candy canes we know and love have long been a holiday treat. From their humble origins in the 1600s, they have been used to decorate Christmas trees with edible delights that generations of children have loved, as well as incorporate gifting sweets during worship.
Originally entirely white and straight, in the 1900s they began to incorporate red stripes to symbolise Jesus’ purity and sacrifice, whilst the top became hooked to represent his crook whilst shepherding.
Our Candy Cane Hostesses are perfect for handing out these sweet treats that guests of all ages can enjoy, cementing a festive feeling few can ignore.
Friendly Festive Witches
In Italy, the story of ‘La Befana’ sees a friendly festive witch fly across the country to gift well behaved children every year with sweets and treats. If you’re naughty, only coal awaits your stocking!
Our stunning White Aerial Madame is perfect for embodying the spirit of La Befana and adding a modern twist, delighting audiences with her stunning suspended antics!
Other Unusual Traditions
Whilst we could only pick a handful of unique festive traditions to discuss in more depth, there are still so many interesting festive traditions that we couldn’t help but compile a quick list below:
Greek folklore has the Kallikantzaros, a group of humanoid demons who spend all year sawing at the ‘Earth Tree’. For 12 days after Christmas, the legend says they return to the surface to bring trouble to mortals
Norway and Scandinavia have a traditional called ‘Julebukking’, where revellers in costumes (often with one member dressed as a naughty goat!) go carolling in return for candy. If two ‘goats’ meet, they generally play fight to the delight of audiences.
Germany has a tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree, and whichever child finds it receives a gift
South Africa’s Christmas delicacy is fried caterpillars! This delicious tradition is supposed to give diners extra good luck for the coming year
Finally, Venezuela’s Caracas has a fun and vibrant festive tradition that sees residents don roller skates to head to Christmas Mass.