Holiday Traditions Around the World

As we close out 2020 and look forward to a hopefully more normal world in 2021, we here at Discover Corps thought it would be fun to take a look around the world at some of the more interesting ways to celebrate the holiday season. Both in countries that we visit and others we hope to visit one day, the holidays highlight just how interesting and diverse our world is. A demon-like creature that terrorizes kids in Austria, Germany & Hungary? Yes, that’s a thing. Celebrating under the candlelight with a KFC dinner? Only in Japan. Below are some of the more fascinating (and occasionally questionable) holiday traditions in this big, wide beautiful world of ours:

Surfing Santa & Bar-B-Q’s – Holidays Down Under

Holidays in Australia are interesting given the sheer fact that they fall in the middle of summer! So that naturally means that Santa arrives not by sleigh through the cold, winter weather, but by surfboard. Scout the beaches along Australia’s thousands of miles of coastline and you may come across surfing Santas. See this video as proof! Aussies also love to Bar-B-Q under the warm sunny December skies. What’s on the menu? Prawn of course. While we here in the U.S. eat hearty staples such as turkey and ham, some Aussies make their “prawn runs” in the morning for a fresh afternoon picnic with family and friends.

Krampus – Austria, Germany, Hungary

While many children dream of gifts being delivered by the friendly reindeer and bearded guy in the red suit, in Austria, Germany and Hungary the situation is….a bit darker. Krampus, a mythical horned demon-like creature, is St. Nick’s evil accomplice that is said to capture all of the bad boys and girls and take them away in his sack. There are even “Krampus runs” of sorts called Krampuslauf where people dress as Krampus and run through the streets to scare the naughty children. Read more here.

Night of the Radishes – Oaxaca

Noche de los Rabanos, or Night of the Radishes, is a tradition that dates back to 1897 in Oaxaca. Radishes are a popular food eaten during the holiday season and throughout the year here. So why not pay homage to this pretty purple vegetable through a festival dedicated solely to it? Oaxacans come together to carve these radishes into a variety of different designs including nativity scenes, historical events, characters from books and even to look like other vegetables and fruits! Locals and tourists are invited to witness these carvings which are later voted on and a prize is awarded for the best design. See some photos from a recent festival here.

KFC Dinner, in Japan?

Christmas isn’t officially a holiday in Japan, but is still celebrated more as a novelty by some Japanese. There has, however, been a tradition that has grown through the years – but it’s not what you’d expect. Every Christmas season, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese treat themselves to a KFC chicken dinner. KFC? In Japan? Why? Well, one answer is globalization and good marketing, but it really is simply a tradition that has grown through the years. Chicken is a popular dish during this time of year and KFC’s chicken buckets have become the go-to for many families. Read more about the history of this tradition here.

While many of us are following different traditions this year, remember that the holidays are a time of rest and relaxation regardless of where you live in the world. We hope you have a healthy and restful break and are looking forward to a new year of travel and adventures ahead (just be sure to avoid Krampus if you find yourself in Germany!).

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