Christmas is a time that is all about tradition. From the layout of the decorations in your house, to a nationwide way of carrying out the big day, Christmas traditions usually find themselves steeped in history as they get passed down from generation to generation.
We spoke to several experts across the world for their inputs on what some of the best Christmas traditions from around the world. The results are three brilliant and touching stories, with two interesting stories emerging from Catalonia…
In Finland, 24 December is the highlight of Christmas. All foods are made so that they are at their best on the Christmas Eve dinner. You need to have a lot of food at that dinner. Basically, we Finns prepare Xmas dishes for our family and an imaginary ice hockey team.
No wonder, that it is a food tradition in Finland to eat the same Christmas dishes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Funnily this leaves us in a situation where we anxiously wait for the mouthwatering Christmas dishes but after eating them for three days, we happily wait a year to eat them again.
Contributor: Varpu from herfinland.com
Nearly 100 years ago a unique coffee tradition began in the city of Naples. Customers of coffee shops would pay twice for one espresso, instructing the barista to log the paid but untaken beverage in an “in suspense” chart. The barista would record what the patron paid for, such as an espresso, cappuccino or even a pastry. Paid items would remain in the log book until someone less fortunate would come and inquire if there was anything paid or in suspense. The barista would check the log and say: “Yes, there is a paid cappuccino. May I serve it to you?”
Following Italy’s Dolce Vita boom years of the sixties this genteel Neapolitan tradition became confined to Christmas and nearly disappeared. In recent years, it has sparked it up again. Perhaps, it’s that global cloud of uncertainty that looms over all of us. Nonetheless, the tradition of the caffè pagato is back in Naples and spreading.
Contributor: Mario Scalzi, President from parkervillas.com
For one night only, visitors join thousands of people to walk this famous road that is decorated with hundreds of farolitos (small brown sacks filled with sand and holding a glowing candle inside). Many of the art galleries on Canyon Road are open for last minute shopping and to welcome participants to come in for hot cider or cocoa and to warm up around bonfires in the courtyards and sculpture gardens. You will hear groups of carolers singing and walkers are encouraged to join in.
All other nights of the holiday season visitors will delight in walking around downtown Santa Fe as most buildings around the city decorate with electric strands of farolitos. You will see these special Southwest holiday lights sitting on roof lines, fences and building ledges at every turn.
Contributor: Joanne Hudson from visitcanyonroad.com
Besides the traditional elements (Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, star, mule and bull, shepherds...) there is one little figure of a squatting man dress in the traditional catalan farmers dress and sporting a red barretina hat. But... his trousers are down and he is pooping! Yes, with a big nice poop lying on the floor under him.
The kids usually hide it somewhere in the nativity (as of course you wouldn't be pooping in the middle of the way) and make adults find it. It looks like it was originally a sign of good luck because the man is fertilizing the land.
Contributor: Marta Laurent Veciana, owner of foreverbarcelona.com private tours
On the 8th of December, the children receive a Caga Tió (Poo Log). This is a small log with a smiley face, wearing the traditional red Catalan hat (the Barretina). From the 8th of December until the 24th the children have to take care of the log, covering him with a blanket and feeding him Turron every evening. By the 24th the Poo log should be nice and full, thus he will poo out lots of treats.
After dinner, The children are given a stick with which they hit the Caga Tió, while singing the song:
Caga Tió (poo log) hazelnuts and turron If you don't want to poo,We will hit you with a stick.
Contributor: Jorge Bastos from traveldrafts.com
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