21 December 2018

Fly and Experience these Unique Christmas Traditions around the World

Fly and Experience these Unique Christmas Traditions around the World

It's that time of the year again! There's so much to love about the holiday season aside from stuffed turkeys and Christmas pudding. It's the never-ending festivities and gift-giving, the smell of winter in the air, and, of course, the much-awaited holiday break that brings families together.

Although Christmas is a special occasion celebrated across the world, that doesn't mean people celebrate it the same way. Each country has its own unique Christmas tradition that makes the celebration extra special. Whilst most people prefer to stay at home to avoid the Christmas rush during the busiest time of the year, being a pilot gives you the benefit of traveling to these places at your own convenience.

That is why we, the Air Navigation Pro team, rounded up this list of different cities and countries that have the most unique Christmas traditions, both mind-blowing and terrifying, for you to experience this holiday season.

So fuel that aircraft, get your Air Navigation Pro app ready, and let's fly around these places together!

Krampus, Austria

It looks like Christmas isn't all fun and games, not in Austria. During the first week of December, young locals will roam around the streets on the eve of St. Nicholas Day and will get dressed as Krampus - the "half-goat", "half-demon" who punishes naughty children and whisk them away in his sack. While St. Nicholas a.k.a. Santa Claus is busy giving away gifts to good kids, Krampus, on the other hand, will be capturing the naughty ones and scare these little children with his clattering chains and bells.

Gavle Goat, Sweden

The people in this small town of Gavle in Sweden has another way of making things merry in the Christmas season. As part of the town's tradition every year, a 13-meter tall Yule Goat is built and displayed during the first Sunday of Advent in Castle Square. This started way back in 1966 and was set to attract people to visit Gavle and its different shops and restaurants but instead, the attraction was led to the goat itself. During the first year it was built, and on the night of New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames. 

Since then, it has been successfully burned in the following years. There were a series of attacks that were documented by the locals. Some of it includes the 2005 attack considered as the biggest destruction in the history of the Gavle goat.

Christmas Sauna, Finland

In Finland, the locals have a special tradition of going to a sauna right before the celebration takes place on Christmas Eve to unwind and relax. However, this isn't the typical sauna that just warms you up. It is believed by the ancient folks that it is the sacred home of the "sauna elf" and that spirits of dead ancestors take their place after family members head out for Christmas dinner.

The Night of the Radishes, Oaxaca, Mexico

In Oaxaca, Mexico, radishes have a way more special-purpose aside from being a healthy vegetable. Noche de Rabanos or Night of the Radishes is a celebration held every 23rd of December where participants carve these radishes into various shapes and sizes forming the concept of the Nativity Scene. Aside from that, they are also decorated as little wild animals or a presentation of the Mayan Imagery, and some are even carved as architectural models. These different designs are then displayed in the Zocola - the town's market to compete for the best-carved radish and then later sold to the locals to be decorated as the centerpiece. 

This isn't just a simple celebration, for the city of Oaxaca has provided a special land to cultivate radishes and other vegetables just for this event.

Broom Thieves, Norway

This doesn't have scientific reasons or such but Norwegian people are accustomed to hiding their brooms on Christmas Eve. This tradition has been practiced centuries ago until now. The locals believed that the holiday season is the time that witches and other evil spirits come out. Families in Norway would hide their brooms and put it in the safest place in the house to keep them from being stolen.

The Poop Log, Catalonia, Spain

Christmas trees are sure to be the most common decorations of all time but in Catalonia, Spain, logs are way more popular than trees. Meet Tio De Nadal, the famous Christmas log. Tio is a character in Catalan mythology who gives presents on Christmas. Families in Catalonia as well as in other parts of Spain, together with their children go to the forest to look for their own log, although it can also be bought in Catalan Christmas markets. The logs are then given a face with an attached nose and two stick legs, and also a red hat similar to a barretina

But the fun doesn't stop there. Things just get weirder starting the night of December 8 wherein children will feed the log every night with small treats and give them a small blanket to keep them warm during the night. The highlights of this tradition happened on Christmas Eve where children start beating the logs with a stick asking for it to poop gifts or candies while singing the traditional song with lyrics such as "Poop log, poop nougats, hazelnuts, and mato cheese. if you don't poop well, I'll hit you with a stick, poop log!" After being successfully beaten, Tio then magical poops out presents and candies, which means he has finally served his purpose and considered useless therefore he can be now thrown in the fire.

Rooster Mass, Bolivia

Misa del Gallo is a common celebration of Catholics around the world but Bolivians have a different way of attending it. Misa del Gallo is also known as the "Mass of the Rooster", it is usually celebrated during the midnight of Christmas Eve while other Catholics start it nine days preceding Christmas. Meanwhile, in Bolivia, people bring roosters to the midnight mass to show their belief that a rooster is the first animal that announced the birth of Jesus.

Roller Skate Mass, Caracas, Venezuela

While Bolivians bring roosters during the mass, the people in Caracas wear roller skates on their way to attend the mass on Christmas morning. This tradition has been recognized to the point that vehicles are prohibited to enter the streets at 8am on that day to ensure that people can skate to church safely.

Another fun thing is that children sleep with one lace with their skates tied around their toe while the other one is hung in the window so their friends can wake them up the next day with a quick pull of the lace.

Yule Cats, Iceland

During Christmas time, families in Iceland give their family members a piece of new clothing, not only as Christmas presents but to protect them from being the main ingredient on Christmas dinner. This is because a Yule Cat - a gigantic and terrifying monster from Icelandic folklore- is believed to roam around the snowy countryside of Iceland to eat people who didn't receive any new clothes before Christmas. 

History has it that farmers used to threat their workers to work hard so they will be given new clothes before Christmas time and to avoid being devoured by the monstrous cat.

Pickle Hunt, Germany

Germans have their own version of Easter eggs at Christmas. However, instead of eggs, German people hide pickles in Christmas trees and whoever can find it will receive a gift. This tradition started way back the 16th centuries and not only in Germany, but this custom is also practiced in other countries around the world.

Deep-Fried Caterpillars, South Africa

When we talk about Christmas food, stuffed turkey, roasted chicken and Christmas pudding are on top of the list but in South Africa, those dishes aren't always present in the Christmas table. What we'll see on the menu are deep-fried caterpillars. Yes, you heard it right. It may sound creepy but these exotic treats are the recipes that locals look forward to during the holidays. You may think these crawlies are what you commonly see in the garden but it's the Pine Tree Emperor Moth that covers most of the ingredients, giving those who eat it a bit of extra luck for the coming year.

Kallikantzari, Greece

In Greece, not all Christmas elves are nice and not all of them work for Santa. In Greek history, terrifying elf-like creatures called "Kallikantzari" come out the night before Christmas through chimneys to scare humans, put out the fire and steal food and even ride on people's back to kick them. They also love to play tricks on humans starting from Christmas time until the 6th of January. the families get rid of them by burning logs or old shoes, putting out a bowl of water and some basil and some kept the fire burning ii the chimney all day top scare them away.

Marriage Predictions, Czech Republic

These Christmas traditions in the Czech Republic foretell the marriage of single women. Not just one, but three different ways of predicting when these women are going to get married. First is by cutting a twig from a cherry tree. If the twig blooms by Christmas Eve, the unmarried woman who cut it will get married within the year. The second way is by throwing a shoe over the shoulder of an unmarried woman and if the shoe lands somewhere with its toe pointing towards the door, the girl will also get married within the year. The other is by shaking an elder tree and if by instance a dog barks after which, then the girl will marry the guy who lives in the same direction the dog's bark came.

Giant Lantern Festival, Philippines

Christmas has been made even more colorful as these bright and giant lanterns grace the town of San Fernando, Pampanga; the Christmas capital of the Philippines. This festival is held annually on a Saturday before Christmas Eve. This celebration attracts both foreign tourists and locals alike as different barangays (villages) compete for the most creative and the best lantern of the year.

The lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah, Washington, D.C.

One of the most popular traditions in the United States is the lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah. The Jewish festival starts on the evening of December 2, where the lighting of the first candle begins, held at the White House and usually starts at 4pm. Each candle is lit every night until the evening of December 10. It is also referred to as "The Jewish Festival of Lights". The lighting ceremony includes different fun activities for children, music, as well as speeches from famous personalities.

Let us know if ever you plan on flying those places mentioned above and don't forget to take a picture and share it with us.

Do you know other places that has unique Christmas traditions? Share it with us and send an email to charlyne@airnavigation.aero.

Do you have awesome stories and photos using Air Navigation Pro to share with us?

Send us a message in one of our social media accounts Facebook, Instragram or send us an e-mail at charlyne@airnavigation.aero.

to discover more about the Flight planning application Air Navigation Pro iOS, 
you can also visit our website at 
and check the manual for additional details on how to use the new features.

Blue Skies, 
The Air Navigation Team



Post a Comment