Weird and wonderful Christmases
Nearly naked Santas, a horned demon, and a squat toilet in the nativity certainly offer unique perspectives on traditions of the festive season.
Festive season brings families together for better, or sometimes worse. What if you wanted to experience something different this year? A festive celebration that did not involve sitting through the airing of sibling grievances as you finally admit defeat and move up a belt size. A Christmas event like nothing you had ever seen? Here are some of the most memorable ways Christmas is celebrated around the world today.
Santa as you’ve never seen him before
Nothing says getting into the “Christmas Spirit” like running through the streets of snowey Budapest nearly naked in a Santa hat. Participants in one of Hungary’s more bizarre festive exercises meet at a roof garden at the WestEnd City Centre. Jog around the mall, then head out to Nyugati tér, Oktogon, and back. They also stop at every major intersection to do a few exercises and sing Christmas songs.
A battle of Good vs. Evil for Christmas
Joseph vs. Goliath, Batman vs. the Joker. Everyone loves Good vs. Evil battle! Have you ever wondered if Santa Claus may have his very own nemesis? While Santa gives gifts to good children, in Europe there are a series of nasty characters in charge of distributing coal to ones who have been naughty. The most terrifying arch-enemy to the tubby man in the red would have to be Krampus.
Krampus become so popular in Germany and Austria that a weekend celebration is held every December called Krampusfest. The celebration usually involves a village-wide party where townspeople dress in Krampus costumes.
Flowers of the Holy Night in Mexico
According to Mexican folklore, one Christmas many years ago, a poor peasant girl approached local church. The girl became embarrassed that she had nothing to offer baby Jesus, and began to cry. A friend consoled her and said that surely anything she could offer would be significant. So the girl made a bouquet from the weeds that grew by the roadside to give as her offering.
The townspeople looked on shocked, and derided this seemingly meagre offering to baby Jesus when compared to their own. However, as the girl placed her weeds near the manger, it is said that a miracle occurred and suddenly the weeds transformed into beautiful red flowers, poinsettia flowers. Today, travellers to Mexico over the festive season will see the poinsettia flowers prominently throughout the country. The flowers are celebrated as a true symbol of Christmas.
Not your usual nativity scene
Nativity scenes are a common sight around Christmas, but in Spain, there is one curious addition to what you might expect. In the Catalan region of Spain, it is the tradition that nativity scenes feature Caganer. A male figurine squatting on a toilet with his pants rolled down. Caganer,” lives up to his name by appearing to be “delivering” in one of the most iconic religious scenes in history.
The tradition was believed to have been established by local farmers, who thought that the “fertilizer” would enrich the earth around them, thus promising a buena cosecha (a good harvest) during the forthcoming year. Those farmers who did not include a Caganer within their nativity scene would be cursed with bad fortune and produce a poor crop at the following harvest!
Weird and wonderful Christmases.