Unusual Christmas Traditions to learn when Relocating

Here in the UK, Christmas means putting up the tree, hanging up your stockings, and tucking into turkey on Christmas Day. However, this is not the case elsewhere in the world. If you are thinking of relocating to a new country, and spending the festive period overseas, why not take the time to learn some local Christmas traditions? From Goats, to Witches to Fried Chicken, here are some of the more unusual Christmas time traditions from around the globe!


Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but celebrations have become popular in recent decades. Instead of opting for a traditional turkey dinner, fried chicken is the dish of choice on Christmas Day!  This was made popular via a hugely successful KFC advertising campaign in 1974, promoting ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ in Japan.


Romania has many wonderful Christmas traditions, but this one is slightly more unusual. Participants don goat masks and brightly coloured costumes, dancing through the streets (usually making lots of noise). This dance is known as the capra. In some regions of Romania, this ‘goat’s dance’ is performed on New Year’s Eve.


In Spain, the 28th December is celebrated as the Day of the Holy Innocents. In a tradition similar to the UK’s April Fool’s Day, jokes and pranks are played on friends and family. TV stations and Newspapers are known to join in with the silliness by inventing outrageous news stories. This tradition is also celebrated in other Spanish speaking countries, such as Colombia and Mexico.


In certain parts of Italy, it isn’t Santa who delivers gifts – its La Befana. La Befana is an old witch-like woman, who flies a broomstick, delivering sweets and gifts to children. Like Father Christmas, she comes down the chimney, unlike Father Christmas it is said that she sweeps the floor with her broom before she leaves – La Befana is a kind-hearted witch!


In regions of Germany, mischievous children have bigger problems than being on Santa’s ‘Naughty List’! Misbehaving kids may get a visit from the rather more terrifying Krampus – a half goat-half man monster, he accompanies Saint Nicolas and punishes misbehaving children. The Krampus is also known to visit the naughty children of Austria.

Every Christmas-celebrating destination has its own special traditions – what are some of your personal favourites?

Written by Sophie Watkins – Recruitment Consultant & Special Projects at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions. 

Posted in categories: Expats, Global Mobilty, International