THE WORLDPOST
12/23/2013 12:00 pm ET

7 Weird Holiday Traditions From Around The World

Does your dad love to take pictures with the whole family in Christmas hats? Does your grandmother insist on making the same bizarre dish on New Year's day? And are you completely sick of all those crazy habits?

Rest assured, you're not alone. As these seven international holiday traditions will prove, families around the world have their own particular peccadillos--some of them weirder than others.

  • 1 The Caganer
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    Hidden in the back corner of every traditional Catalan nativity scene sits the Caganer. The tiny figurine of a man with his trousers down, pooping, represents fertility and good fortune and has been part of Catalan Christmas traditions for at least two centuries. More recently, numerous business have started to produce figurines that resemble famous officials, such as Barack Obama.
  • 2 Kurisumasu Ni Wa Kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!)
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    In Japan, Christmas is synonymous with… Kentucky Fried Chicken. Only one percent of Japanese actually celebrate Christmas, but ever since KFC launched a massively successful campaign in 1974 promoting its Christmas meals, droves of Japanese flock to KFCs across the country on Dec. 25.
  • 3 Ukraine’s Spiderwebs
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    Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, Such spiders do you bring me! Christmas trees in Ukraine are traditionally adorned with fake spiders and webs, which are considered symbols of good luck. As with every good tradition, the habit comes with a moralizing story. Legend has it there once was a poor widow living with her children in a shack. One year, the family managed to obtain a Christmas tree but had no money to decorate it. On Christmas morning, however, spiders spun webs in the tiny tannenbaum, and when the children awoke, the tree appeared to be full of silver and gold.
  • 4 The Burning Goat
    AP
    Every year since 1966, the Swedish town of Gävle celebrates Christmas by placing a giant yule goat in the middle of the town square. However, arsonists have managed to set the massive straw animal on fire so many times that lighting the temporary monument has almost become a tradition of its own.
  • 5 The Least Appealing Meal In The World?
    We think so. Kiviaq is a typical winter dish out of Greenland that is made from fermented sea birds. The BBC explains the process: The delicacy is created by first preparing a seal skin: all the meat is removed and only a thick layer of fat remains. The skin is then sewn into a bag shape, which is stuffed with 300-500 little auk birds. Once full and airtight, the skin is sewn up and seal fat is smeared over all over the join, which acts as a repellent to flies. The seal skin is then left under a pile of rocks to ferment for a minimum of three months to a maximum of 18 months.
  • 6 Saint Nicholas And His Black Petes
    AP
    For Dutch and Flemish children, Christmas comes twice (sort of). On Dec. 6, Saint Nicholas travels to the lowlands to hand presents to all the children who behaved well during the year. His black peters are around to help AND to punish those little ones that deserve a lesson.
  • 7 A Wedding Next Year?
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    Czech women predict on Christmas whether they will marry in the next year by throwing a shoe over their shoulders while standing with their backs to the house door. If the shoe lands with the heel toward the door, the woman will stay single for another year.

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