Whether you like it or not, the festive period truly upon us and most of us thinking about decorating our homes and putting up the tree. We are taking a look at how home owners around the world are decorating their homes this year and some of the unusual traditions they enjoy.
Although this might appear to be more of a Halloween decoration than Christmas, in Ukraine most households will decorate their trees with little spider webs glinting with glitter. This tradition stems from an Eastern European legend about a poor widow who found a small pine tree growing through the floor of her hut. Too poor to afford to decorate her tree, the widow and her children tearfully went to bed on Christmas Eve. They awoke on Christmas morning to find their tree adorned with intricate cobwebs that shimmered in the morning sunlight. Today, Ukrainians continue this humble Christmas tradition, adorning their trees with fake glittery spiders and cobwebs.
Little Candles Day (Día de las Velitas) marks the start of the Christmas period in Colombia. Across the country, people place candles and paper lanterns in their windows, balconies and front yards in honour of the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. The tradition of candles has grown, and now entire towns and cities across the country are lit up with elaborate light displays.
In the Philippines people buy or make special Christmas lanterns called ‘paróls’. The lanterns are star-shaped to remember the star of Bethlehem and are made out of bamboo and colourful paper.
Christmas takes place in the peak of the Australian summer. The Christmas trees down under therefore have less of a wintry vibe. Pretty shells are often found of the branches of Christmas trees in Oz, either in their natural form or shining with glitter.
Perhaps one of the most unconventional Christmas Eve traditions is in Norway. People hide their brooms on Christmas Eve in Norway because of a tradition which dates back many centuries. Legend has it that people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day, many people still hide their brooms in the safest place in the house to stop them from being stolen.
In the Netherlands at Christmas, you’ll find delicious treats on the Christmas called kerstkransjes. They are biscuits decorated with almond and chocolate made in the shape of Christmas wreaths tied to branches with red ribbon. In many Dutch households that these tasty ornaments will be gobbled up before Christmas Day, leaving just the red ribbon behind.
Christmas is not a widely celebrated holiday in Japan, so much so that until a few years ago, Christmas decorations weren’t easy to come by. Origami decorations are often found on Japanese Christmas trees, as they could be made easily at home.