In South Africa they have kinda a strange snack for Christmas day: Deep-Fried Caterpillars of the Emperor Moth. I don't know how they taste like and I don't wanna know.
Austrian children are told that there's a monster called The Krampus. It is a Christmas devil that beats children that've been naughty with branches and then he puts them in his bag to take them to hell and eat them. Cool!
There's not a certain explanation for this tradition but Catalonians put a little figure depicting a man… well… defecating in their nativities. Some say that he fertilizes the ground and is a symbol of good luck.
In some spanish regions there's a tradition called Tió de Nadal. At the beginning of advent people take a small tree trunk and decorate it with a face and cover it with a mantle so it doesn't get cold. On Christmas day, parents hide candies underneath the mantle and children beat the trunk with sticks so it "poops" the candy. I don't know what to think.
In Norway cleaning on Christmas Eve is forbidden. Not only because it is kinda rude and useless, but because Christmas is supposed to be the time when Witches go out to look for brooms to use as transport.
In Japan they don't celebrate Christmas, is not a part of their culture. But a few years ago, when occidental tourist wanted to celebrate Christmas, they would go to KFC, the only place where they could find chicken. And now it has become a Christmas Eve tradition.
We don't know the origin of this tradition but in Caracas they attend to the morning Christmas Mass roller skating. Maybe the thing is that in Christmas Morning there's less cars on the street.
In Scandinavia Christmas can be very similar to Halloween. People dress up as goats and go door to door singing Christmas songs till the neighbors recognize them under the costume.
The legend says that a widow and her sons were so poor they couldn't decorate their Christmas tree, and when they woke up one morning the tree was full of cobwebs that with the light of day created wonderful effects. This legend is the origin of tinsel and people in Ukraine still decorates their trees with cobwebs and spiders.
In the United States there's a tradition of hiding a pickle under the tree or using pickles to decorate the tree. It began when a war prisoner saved his life by hiding a pickle and eating it in secret.
La Befana is a good witch that handles gifts to little children the night of January 5th. That in case they were good, if they were naughty, she gives them carbon.
Christmas is a huge date in the Estonian calendar. And they prepare a lot for that night. On Christmas Eve, the tradition says you should visit the sauna after preparing the house for the festivities.
Are you tired of the turkey and the chicken? You should visit Greenland. On Christmas Eve they eat Mattak, that is Whale Skin and grease and Kiviak, that is decomposed sealskin. Yummy.
In Whales there's a tradition called Mari Lwyd. Each year a person grabs a mare skull with a stick and covers with a white cloth to parade around time, while the other villagers sing christmas carols.
This tradition can be seen in a lot of places but especially in London, where brave folks break the ice and dive into the freezing waters of Lake Serpentine each year at Christmas day.
Christmas is all about food and family. And considering that your ancestors are also part of the family, they deserve to eat too. In Portugal people leave an empty place on the table for dead relatives.
In Czech Republic unmarried women really look forward Christmas Eve. There's a simple tradition they perform: They stand with the backs to the front door and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe pointing the door they will get married the following year.
This tradition is quite polemic to say the least. Black Peter is supposed to be the helper of Santa, and the one in charge of punishing naughty children. Every Christmas people blackface and disguise themselves as Peter and scatter candies.
In Germany the gifts are handled by Christkind, a child dressed in gold that is the lutheran equivalent to Santa Claus. Christkind is often a girl with blonde curly hair that visits the houses of the children.
Christmas in New Zealand is in the middle of summer, so a lot of wintery traditions that we usually know don't run there. Santa, for example, wears sandals and a rugby t-shirt.
GERMANY ONE MORE TIME
Other german tradition: Kids also leave their shoes outside the house on December 5th and they wake up to find their shoes filled with sweets (if they were good children)
In Iceland there's a legend that says that a huge cat called the Yule Cat stalks the hills looking for people with old clothes to devore. If you have new clothes he won't do you a thing. It is a legend installed by the farmers to incentivize their workers to finish processing wool before Christmas.
Christian ethiopians still use the Julian calendar, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and they call it Ganna. 43 days before the celebration, they start a special fast and they only eat vegan food till Christmas eve.
Before Christmas latvian children use to memorize poems, because on Christmas Eve they must recite them by heart in order to get a present. The first documented use of the Christmas tree was in Latvia.
In Argentina Christmas Eve is a great deal. People would often eat barbeques in the garden, since december is warm there. They open the gifts at midnight and the following day they eat leftovers and sleep all day.
Australians believe that Santa arrives to the country in his famous reindeers, but once he reaches the coast he gathers six white kangaroos that help him deliver gifts all over the island.
In Belgium the ceremony of giving presents and Christmas Eve are in two different dates. For Belgians Santa Claus visit them on December 6th, and that day they exchange presents.
In Bolivia they don't celebrate Christmas that much, and in some places (especially poor ones) they even work like any other day. Christmas trees are only seen in big cities.
Though Christmas in Brazil is in summer and it's really hot in there, they usually have a lot of traditions brought from the United States and Europe. Yet they often celebrate Christmas at the beach.
Bulgarians believe that Mary started her labour on December 20th but she didn't gave birth till Christmas eve. December 20th is the traditional new year's eve of the Bulgarian culture.
Only about one percent of all Chinese are christians, so only few people celebrate Christmas in China. The funny thing about this is that most of plastic Christmas trees are made in this country.
Christmas in Colombia is celebrated during the entire month of december. It starts with a party called Day of the Little Candles, when all the houses are decorated with candles and lights. Then, they have a nine days series of events, each one hosted by a different family.
In rural Croatia Christmas is a time for asking for good crops. That is why they bring yule logs to their homes and lit them on Christmas Eve, it is supposed to bring luck with the harvest.
In Finland Christmas is quite special, because the legend says that Santa Claus lives in an area of this country called Korvatunturi, where there's a beautiful themed Park. Santa doesn't have to travel much to give presents to finnish kids.
In France people use to bring logs home and then sprinkle them with red wine so they smell good when they are burning. That log is left burning all night and they also leave food over the table in case that Mary and Joseph come during the night.
In Georgia Christmas is celebrated every January 7th. That day most of the population take the streets in what they call "Alilo", a huge parade with traditional clothes and flags.
In Greece there's an old tradition that is still very common. People (often mothers) fill a bowl with holy water and sprinkle it in every corner of the house with a branch of basil. This is supposed to scare the spirits that comes to earth on Christmas away.
Haitian children look forward for Christmas all year, like in most of the world. But in Haiti particularly, they are allowed to drink an alcoholic drink called Anisette and stay up and away all night.
In India Christmas is a small celebration compared to other festivals, because there's only a 2% of christians. Christians then put clay lamps on their roofs to show their faith.
In the town of Hatillo in Puerto Rico, there's an old tradition of doing a parade where people dress up as King Herod's soldiers and "kidnap" kids that are only released after giving candy to the soldiers.
Mexican children perform a game for nine days before Christmas. They go through different houses of the neighborhood acting like Joseph and Mary looking for an inn to stay, and everyone refuses until someone let them in an there's a celebration.
In Canada they took children's letters to Santa to a whole new level. They created a postcode for Mr. Claus, "H0H 0H0" and letters received are not only open but also replied.
UNITED STATES (ARIZONA)
Christmas is all about peace and love. Except in Scottsdale, Arizona. People often go to the Scottsdale Gun Club and takes the traditional photo with Santa… with all kinds of guns.
This one is an unfortunate tradition. Since 1966 the town of Gavle builds a huge yule goat and since 1966 vandals burn it down. Every year they try to build it again but it has been burned down 25 times. People even bet if the goat is going to survive the season.
Philippines is home of millions of christians. More than 80% of the entire population celebrate Christmas and celebrate it with a lot of joy. The preparation for the holidays begin in september and december is full of activities and traditions.
Christmas is really important for the city of Bethlehem and Bethlehem is really important for Christmas, because it is the city where Jesus was born. People go to Mass to the Church of the Nativity, that is built in the exact place where the tradition says that Mary gave birth.
Christmas was abolished by the communist regime in 1969, but in 1998 it was restored because it was one of the requests that Pope John Paul II made in order to visit the country.
People in Slovakia, especially in rural areas, where people tend to be more superstitious, they have a lot of traditions. For example, a strange woman can't enter the house on Christmas Eve (Witches, maybe), and they put a chain around the Christmas table to keep the family together.
Polish families put hay under the table as a reminder that Jesus was born in a manger. They also put money under the tablecloth to assure prosperity the following year. Dinner usually has twelve dishes, one for each apostle, and they leave an empty chair for the Holy Ghost.