Peculiar Christmas Traditions in Europe

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Christmas is less than a week away! Are you excited? We bet that wherever you are from, you have interesting holiday traditions, and today we would like to share the most peculiar ones from different countries in Europe.

Some of them made us laugh, others made us think about our own traditions and find similarities, but overall we had a lovely time writing this piece, and we hope you will equally enjoy reading it!

1. Lithuania

Want to celebrate the start of the Christmas season in Lithuanian style? Get together with the whole family and watch "Home Alone" [1990], starring Macaulay Culkin! This movie has been the traditional Christmas movie in Lithuania for years.


You don't need to worry about where to watch it, it will 100% be shown on TV! Christmas is not Christmas without this movie, tangerines, snow and a Christmas tree!

Talking about festive customs in Lithuania, people there do not eat meat nor drink alcohol on Christmas Eve. Also, according to the tradition, they have to taste at least twelve different dishes during dinner on Christmas Eve.

2. Italy

Kids around the world look forward to the arrival of Santa Claus (usually on the 25th of December) but in Italy, they wait for one more guest to visit the city on the 5th of January, the witch La Befana.


Every year La Befana flies on her magic broom to every house in Italy in search of baby Jesus, and, of course, she brings gifts along the way!

So, it makes Italy one of the few places in the world where witches aren't deemed as scary.

What is La Befana?
It is the witch that flies on her magic broom to every house in Italy in search of baby Jesus, and brings gifts.

3. Portugal

Did you know that in Portugal it is the Three Wise Men and not a big, jolly man in a red suit that comes bearing gifts?


Most children in Portugal write their Christmas letters to baby Jesus asking for gifts rather than to Santa Claus.

The Catholic religion is deeply rooted in the country, thus religious traditions are still very much well-preserved. Another tradition is setting an extra seat by the dining table for relatives who have passed away. It is done during the Christmas Eve dinner called "Consoda".

What is Consoda?
It is an extra seat by the dining table for relatives who have passed away.

4. Norway

Norwegians have some peculiar Christmas traditions, and if you've spent the holidays in Norway, you probably know what we speak of.


One of the most uncommon traditions is "eating a sheep's head." And no, this is not a creative way to call a chocolate cake or a funny name for a Christmas game.

It literally means eating a sheep's head. This dish is actually the main course and is usually prepared and eaten right before Christmas. Would you dare to try?

5. France

If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the chance to celebrate the Christmas season in Provence, France. One dessert is not nearly enough - people there enjoy thirteen dessert options after the Christmas meal!


These desserts usually include pastries, candied fruit, dried fruit, and nougat, and sharing these deserts symbolizes sharing the joy Christ brings to everyone. So if you have a hard time deciding what to order for dessert, you won't have that problem in France.

6. Russia

When it comes to the East of Europe, you'd be surprised to learn that Russians actually go to work on Christmas (December 25th), and their celebration starts only on New Years Eve.


Besides all the regular aspects of holidays like a variety of amazing traditional dishes, fireworks, and dancing, they have one special custom they like to do right before midnight..

Russians write down their aspirations for the following year on a tiny piece of paper and start burning it at the last minute before the new year. Once the clock shows 00.00 they pour the ashes into their champagne and drink it, believing that the wishes will come true in the new year.

7. Spain

One of the most surprising holiday traditions come from the Catalan region in Spain, where children gather on Christmas Eve to whack the Tio de Nadal (Christmas Log) so that it could poop out gifts and candies while singing:


"Shit log,
Shit nougats,
Hazelnuts and mató cheese,
If you don't shit well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
Shit log!"

After children find the presents which came out of the log under its blankets, families burn Tio de Nadal.

What is Tio de Nadal?
It is the Christmas Log that poops out gifts and candies.

8. Czech Republic

A lot of Christmas traditions revolve around presents and children, however, one of the main ones in the Czech Republic is dedicated to the ladies and foretelling of their future love life.


According to a common superstition, single ladies of the family have to toss their shoes over their shoulder towards the door. If the shoe lands pointing at it, the thrower will get married the upcoming year, if it points the opposite way - unlucky!

As a bonus, all women must receive a kiss under a mistletoe which guarantees love for the next year (not marriage).

9. Germany

Christmas comes 20 days early in this country with one of the most quintessentially German traditions - the celebration of the Sankt Nikolaus Tag (St. Nicholas Day).


On the night of the 5th of December, children around Germany get super serious about their shoes and start cleaning and polishing them. It is because they are about to receive the most special guest of the year - St. Nicolas (Santa Claus).

Kids leave their shiny shoes outside their door and wake up to find them filled with candy, small gifts, and nuts.

10. Slovakia

To Slovaks, Christmas Eve is an extraordinary day. Like many other European nations, they eat carp as the main dish during dinner, but the preparation time leading up to the dinner is what is peculiar.


After the fish is caught, it is then brought to the family's bathtub, where it lives for the next few days leading to Christmas Eve. The family cannot use the bathroom at that time.

Before or after dinner, children are also told that Jesus is about to bring a Christmas tree, and it takes a special effort for parents to decorate it whilst it is still outside and hide it from their little ones.

If you want to experience any of these traditions, you can always organize a remake with your family and friends at home, but there is nothing like traveling to another destination for the holidays and diving headfirst into all cultural experiences including the fascinating Christmas and New Year traditions. Just pick a country from the list, and let's chat about your travel plans!