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Christmas traditions vary around the world

Christmas traditions vary around the world Christmas traditions vary around the world

Christmas will soon be upon us, and with it comes many Anderson holiday traditions. We put up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend, and we put lights up outside. We do our Christmas shopping, and we send Christmas cards to family and friends. Our kitchen has all the tantalizing smells of holiday baking. It gets a bit hectic, but it is all just part of the holiday spirit.

Americans, of course, are not the only people celebrating Christmas. People all over the world spend time with their families celebrating this important holiday in many different ways. So I thought I would share some of the unique ways that people celebrate Christmas around the world.

Although Christmas’s true meaning is the celebration of Christ’s birthday, Santa Claus is an essential symbol of Christmas. However, some cultures have an anti-Santa. Germany’s Christmas includes Krampus, a half-goat, half-demon created to instill fear in children’s hearts. On Dec. 6, Krampus comes out in search of naughty children. If the children were good, they would awaken the next morning to gifts from St. Nicholas. However, if not, the children would be collected by Krampus and be taken back to his lair.

If you were living in Norway, on Christmas Eve you would hide all broomsticks. Norwegians believe that bad witches and spirits come out looking for broomsticks. If they find any, they take them and fly through the skies during all of Christmas Eve.

Icelanders believe in the Legend of the Icelandic Yule Cat. If the children of Iceland have been good, they receive new clothes for Christmas. If they haven’t been good, they do not get new clothes. The Yule Cat, which is said to be as big as a house, lurks throughout Iceland and eats the children wearing old clothes.

In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are covered in ornate cobwebs and sparking spider webs. This custom originated from the story of a poor woman who grew a Christmas tree from a pine cone. However, when Christmas arrived, she realized that she had nothing to use to decorate the tree. The story goes that spiders came out during the night and spun beautiful, sparkling webs throughout the tree.

As for me, I prefer our Christmas traditions of caroling, exchanging gifts, putting up a tree, outside lights, and candlelight worship services. But no matter how we choose to celebrate Christmas, it is the true meaning of peace on earth and goodwill toward man that is important.

Ken Anderson, the “Mayberry Guru,” can be reached at and www.themayberryguru.