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  • Writer's pictureMaría Palomares Tarí

UNWRAPPING CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WORLDWIDE






The holiday season is a time for joy, laughter, and unique traditions that make the world’s cultures shine with their brilliance. Just like the magic of Christmas, professional translators bring cultures and languages together seamlessly. 


Let’s take a whimsical tour of some of the funniest holiday customs from around the world!


Iceland — The Yule Cat

In Iceland, children dread the Yule Cat, a giant feline that prowls around during Christmas. But here’s the twist – this furry beast doesn't come for milk and cookies. Instead, it has a rather unusual appetite… for people who haven't received new clothes to wear before Christmas!


Catalonia — “Caganer”

When it comes to holiday customs, Catalonia, in Spain, has a tradition that's both humorous and, well, a little cheeky. It's known as the "Caganer," and it's an essential part of the Catalan nativity scene. In fact, a Catalan nativity scene isn’t complete without the “Caganer” figurine – a cheeky character caught in the act of, well, you know! This quirky tradition is believed to bring good luck.


Japan — KFC Christmas

When you think of Christmas dinner, a feast of roasted turkey, ham, or maybe even a succulent prime rib probably comes to mind. But in Japan, it's all about a finger-lickin' good bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken! In Japan, KFC has become a Christmas tradition. It is such a holiday symbol that you can spot people ordering buckets of fried chicken months in advance. The demand is so high that KFC outlets even take reservations!


South Africa — the Surfing Santa

When you imagine Santa Claus, it's often in a cozy red suit, riding a sleigh pulled by reindeer. But in South Africa, especially along the beautiful coastline, Santa trades his reindeer for a surfboard! He’s spotted catching waves along the coast. On Christmas Day, people gather along the beaches, where Santa, often donning a beach-friendly version of his iconic red suit, takes to the waves. He rides the surf and even occasionally performs tricks. Instead of a sack of toys, he might have a bag of beach balls, spreading holiday cheer with a dash of saltwater.


Czech Republic — Throwing Shoes

Single ladies in the Czech Republic partake in an unusual ritual. They stand with their back to the front door, throw a shoe over their shoulder, and wait to see how it lands. If the shoe’s toe points towards the door, they’ll marry within the year.


At YOKO, we understand that the magic of the holiday season can come in many forms, including those lost in translation. That’s why our team of professional translators is here to help you navigate cultural nuances and language barriers with ease. Let your message sparkle this holiday season.


Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, filled with joy, laughter, and the magic of multicultural communication! 




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