With just a few days to go before we celebrate Christmas, we are reminded that when we were young children, Christmas was like winning the lottery. It was the day when all your Christmas dreams come true. You ran to the Christmas tree bursting with excitement, seeing a load of presents with your name on them.
When you think about it, Christmas is an odd time of the year. It seems as though, no matter where you go there are Christmas decorations, carols are bursting from speakers you never even realised where there and strange family members you might or might not have known about gather together. This is where it could get even stranger. Especially when they come from another country and are rather eccentric to say the least.
For those of you who are expecting new guests to join your Christmas celebrations, we would like to give you fair warning about what could quite possibly come your way over the next few days. (and you thought winning the lottery would be weird)
Christmas in the Czech Republic
The Czech’s love Christmas and have a whole range of Christmas traditions, from not eating meat for the whole day to throwing the shoes at the door. Why throw a shoe? To see if you will get married the following year of course. After all, Santa can bring you quite a few things, but shove a real live husband down the chimney – no.
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Christmas in the Ukraine
For those of you that have experienced Christmas in the Ukraine, you will know that their Christmas tree decorations are a little strange to say the least. Where the west will have tinsel and shiny balls, the Ukraine’s will decorate theirs with spider webs. It’s a symbol of good luck.
This tradition has its origins in an old folk tale about a woman who couldn't afford to decorate her tree. On Christmas morning she woke to find that it had been festooned with glittering spider silk.
Christmas in Scandinavia
Being much closer to Lapland, the Scandinavia has no shortage of exotic Christmas traditions, which range from burning goats, rotten birds and psychotic cats. Let’s start off with the goat. Every year a giant goat is built out of straw in the town square in Gävle. The Swedes are well known for being law-abiding, but at some point someone always torches it, and the bookies make money on it.
Once again the ladies want to know when they are going to get married, so an almond is hidden inside a rice pudding called Risalamande and whoever finds it will, according to the folklore, get married before the following Christmas.
For those with queasy stomach’s (stop reading and find the next paragraph) as in those living in Greenland have a traditional Christmas dish made up of raw whale blubber, known as Mattak, and Kiviak, a dead sea bird that's been rotting and fermenting for months. I’ll skip thanks.
Christmas in Japan
The last place we pictured anyone eating at Christmas would be KFC. What on earth happened to eggnog, turkey, and gammon? But each to their own. Even though Japan doesn't have a large Christian population, the do love the Western culture. Rather than emulate the usual Christmas tradition, the Japanese have come up with their own version and it’s rather bizarre.
Take the Japanese Santa Claus, or Santa Kurōsu, as he's known. They’ve sort of merged him with other native characters, including the Orient's favourite jolly fat man, Buddha.
Buddha's not the only icon to get mixed up with Santa Claus in Japan though as dear old Colonel Sanders who also sports a big white beard is in the Santa mix. So much so, that there’s a huge increase in sales at the KFC’s around Christmas time. So if you find yourself in Japan over Christmas, forget buying a bucket of chicken as these have already been booked months before the time.
Christmas in Venezuela
One thing that common during Christmas, is going to church, but the Venezuelan’s do it in style – on roller-skates. Yes, well we did tell you this was an article about crazy Christmas traditions. Anyway, even the streets are closed to traffic from eight in the morning as the city's holy rollers skate their way to mass. I must admit this is way cooler than eating whole blubber.
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Christmas in Austria
When it comes down to truly bizarre Christmas traditions, Austria wins lock, stock and barrel. When thinking about Christmas we usually think about a Christmas tree with gorgeous decorations, snow, and laughter with friends and family. Yes, part of the whole Christmas saga we have Scrooge but not like Austria. Their anti-Santa is a huge terrifying demon with goat horns and hooves who punishes naughty children by beating them with a stick, drowning them or dragging them straight to hell. Wow.
Christmas in Poland
For those worried about gaining too much weight over the festive season – don’t go to Poland! They serve up carp instead of turkey and it’s just one of twelve individual courses that grace the average Polish Christmas dinner table. Why twelve you ask? One for each of the apostles.
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Christmas in Great Britain
Great Britain – the name says it all. It is great and has many great traditions throughout the year and especially at Christmas.
There are many eccentric people that live in this awesome country with many different quirks. The Brits are renowned for their dry sense of humour which often gets them in trouble with those that don’t get the joke. Just look back at Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the TV show from 1969 to 1974. Really off the wall humour that is still talked about today. You can’t get drier than Monty Python and some of those actors are still going strong today.
Getting back to Christmas, some people may find it quaint that many Brits will sit in front of the television and watch the Queens Speech which usually takes place live around 3pm on Christmas Day. It is worth watching though as the Queen has a wonderful way about her that exudes charm and class.
Then there are the TV Christmas specials such as Strictly Come Dancing or Top Gear or even a Dr Who Christmas special. People will be glued to the box full of Christmas turkey and sherry, then eventually doze off in their chairs during a re-run of the movie ‘The Guns OF Navarone’ or ‘The Great Escape’ without a care in the world.
The shrewd ones will be on the ball and check their UK Lottery results first to see if they became a millionaire, which they would regard as a present from Santa Claus should they win.
Another British tradition is carol singing. People will go around their neighbourhood singing carols outside of someone’s house. After listening to the singers complete their carols, the householder then gives money which is usually donated to charity by the singers. This may seem a strange practice to other cultures but is quite normal in Great Britain.
Christmas Eve hymns sung at the local church is a tradition of many as is midnight mass for others but an evening down at the local pub is just as popular, maybe even more popular than the churchgoers. What better than sitting in front of an inglenook fireplace piled up with blazing logs, keeping you warm on a cold winter’s night, and knocking back a pint of your favourite brew.
One thing that could be better of course, is if your numbers come up on the UK Lottery and you win a fabulous jackpot. What a Christmas present that would be! Imagine starting your New Year off looking for a new bigger house and you get there in your new luxury car. This is why it is important to get your lucky numbers in before you get distracted with buying Christmas presents and planning visits from your family.
A very merry Christmas to all our players. We wish you all the luck in the world!
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A New Christmas Tradition
Of course not all Spanish Christmas traditions are quite so eeeh... biologically orientated. Some are quite magical, such as the world-famous Spanish Christmas Lottery, the biggest and most generous lottery on the planet. The Spanish celebrate this lottery as a national event, with over 90% of the population buying tickets! With a one in ten chance of winning a prize and a prize pool of £1.6 billion it's easy to see why.
Best of luck!
The PlayHugeLottos.com Team
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