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The Traveller's Magazine
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Christmastime is here… and while the nation trims their trees and hangs the stockings in anticipation of the big day next week, we take a look at some of the most bizarre Christmas traditions around the world. From throwing shoes to flying goats…

We all have our own traditions this time of the year and they vary greatly from one family to the next, from one culture to the next but there are some truly strange traditions out there! A few years ago we brought you these 5 strange Christmas traditions from around the world and this year, we’ve found five more.

Sweden’s Yule Goat

yule-goat While Rudolph may get all the attention in some countries, Sweden does thing a bit differently. For this Scandinavian country, it’s all about the Yule goats that take the leading role on Christmas night. You can see little straw goat ornaments on Christmas trees across Sweden. Many think the idea comes from the Norse god Thor, who had two goats pulling his chariot. In the town of Gävle, there is a giant straw goat and there’s an unspoken competition to see if vandals can destroy it before the authorities catch them. Since 1966, the Yule Goat has only survived 13 times…

Auks for Christmas dinner

auks In Greenland the Christmas Day feast doesn’t consist of turkey or goose but rather a more local flavour, kiviak. Frankly after reading about this delicacy, we’re not too sure about Greenland cuisine. The dish is made by wrapping 500 auks (a small, Arctic bird) including feathers and beaks in a seal skin. The packet is then sewn up, sealed with grease and hidden under a rock to keep it airtight. It’s left fermenting for months and opened up on Christmas Day. Bon Apetit!

Flying shoes in the Czech Republic

shoes Hoping for a new pair of slippers or Louboutins under the tree this year? Unwrap them early if you want to participate in this Czech tradition. On Christmas Eve single ladies around the Czech Republic will be tossing their shoes to determine what their love life will look like in the coming year. They stand with their backs to the front door and toss a shoe over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the front door then they’ll be married within the year. If not, then off to the cobbler to repair that scuffed heel.

Steer clear of red in Japan at Christmastime

letters Red is the colour of the season here but in Japan it’s best to steer clear of it. Don’t send your Japanese friends holiday cards with Santa Claus on it in his crimson-coloured suit and don’t post it in a red envelope. The colour is usually associated with death in Japan. Red cards are normally only sent to the bereaved and used to send out funeral notices. Even a card with Rudolph on the front is off-limits.

Are you scared of Santa?

If you’re in the US on flights to Chicago this year then don’t miss the chance to pick up a copy of the Chicago Tribune to read on the plane. It has become a yearly tradition for the newspaper to hold a “Scared of Santa” competition for the best photo of a terrified child on Santa’s lap. You can’t help but feel sorry for the petrified tots for a second but these photos are just soooo funny. Check out this year’s entries so far at chicagotribune.com. What’s your ideal destination for the Christmas holidays? Take our quiz to find out!

Imgs: plastAnka, RealVirginian, Sarah G, merula, davidjlee / Flickr cc.

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