Every year, people celebrate Christmas. Every country, every city, and every person has their own Christmas tradition.
Here are some fun Christmas traditions.

1. Goat made of straw – Sweden 


In many squares in Dutch cities there are big Christmas trees, but in Sweden you often see a Christmas goat. The Gävle Goat is a traditional Christmas display erected annually at Slottstorget in central Gävle, Sweden. But with the goat comes another crazy tradition: almost every year vandals set fire to the showpiece.



2. Krampus, helper of Nikolaus – Austria 


The evening of December 5 is not a sweet celebration in the Alps. For, together with St. Nicholas, the Krampus migrate through the streets. Krampus is a half-goat-half-monster who punishes children that misbehave at Christmas. The word comes from the Old High German word for claw: Krampen. He is found in Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and the Czech Republic, among other places.



3. Shoe Throwing – Czech Republic 


In the Czech Republic, one day before Christmas, it is predicted whether single women will get lucky in love the coming year. They predict this by throwing a high-heeled shoe. The women stand with their backs to the door and then throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the point of the heel is directed toward the door, then they will get married within one year, but if the point lands in a different direction then they will have to wait another year.

4. The Yule Lads – Iceland 


Unlike most other countries, Iceland has 12 Santa Clauses instead of one. Starting December 12th, these Yule Lads visit Icelandic homes at night and make mischief. They then leave a small present in the shoes of good children.


5. Day of the candles – Colombia 


The start of the Christmas season is heralded with thousands of candles and lanterns lit throughout the country. On December 7th, the day of the candles is celebrated in Colombia. Along the road, on footpaths, in gardens, everywhere you go, you will find candles. Every year the country lives towards this one special moment.


Happy holidays!

Instituut Jeroen Bosch