The holidays are right around the corner. It’s the time of the year to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and FaceTime with family from around the world. Some holiday traditions are universal—like Christmas trees, ugly sweaters, and delicious Christmas buffets. But each country has its own unique traditions worthy of your curiosity. Here are just some of the most interesting holiday traditions around the world.

Austria’s Krampus Costumes

If some countries celebrate Santa Claus, Austria is the land of Krampus. The antithesis to jolly ‘ole Santa, Krampus is a hairy demonic creature who punishes all the kids who make it to Santa’s naughty list. Consider it the sequel to Halloween. Every Christmas, people in Austria wear terrifying Krampus masks and walk around neighbourhoods to terrify unsuspecting children. Legend says Krampus won’t stop at scaring kids—he even throws them into his sack to bring them back to his lure in Hell.

Japan’s KFC Craze

While some countries prefer home-cooked meals for Christmas, the Japanese prefer meals from everyone’s favourite chicken joint—Kentucky Fried Chicken. Every Christmas, Japan goes crazy for KFC. The tradition started way back in the ‘70s thanks to a successful marketing campaign that’s lasted until now. The majority of the population is Buddhist, so while they might not celebrate Christmas the way Christians do, the Japanese instead celebrate the holiday with buckets of KFC.

Australia’s Beach Breaks

Christmas might be associated with cosy winter days in the Northern Hemisphere, but down in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is celebrated in the summer. Australia is one of the countries where Christmas break means long summer days, which is why many Australian families pack their cars for road trips to the beach. It’s not uncommon for families to celebrate the holiday at the beach where kids can swim, play, and bask in the hot summer sun. You might even spot a suntanned Santa chilling on the beach.

Scandinavia’s Santa Lucia Light Festival

In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, St. Lucy (or Lucia) is celebrated in the days leading to Christmas. Taking place on December 13, St. Lucy’s feast is considered a part of the Advent season and is viewed as a holiday tradition. Every year, a girl is chosen to portray Lucia and wear a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles. The girl is meant to symbolize St. Lucia, a Christian martyr who was burned at the stake. A choir of women, also dressed in white, will sing a haunting song while holding candles to light the way.

Guatemala’s Cleansing Bonfires

In the Latin American country of Guatemala, locals celebrate the holidays by cleansing their homes of evil spirits in anticipation of the new year. Guatemalans will sweep their homes, collect trash, and build piles of materials to be burned in a giant bonfire. They’ll then place an effigy of the devil on the bonfire to complete the burning, which is said to cleanse communities of evil spirits and negative energy, thereby paving the way for a joyous and peaceful Christmas.

The holidays are always a great occasion to call friends and family, and send them gifts no matter where they are. And for family members half way across the world, you can avail TelPug’s international recharge services and send them holiday top up specials. There’s no better way to stay connected.

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