Halloween seems to be the time for superstitions, but Christmas has just as many if not more! While it’s a time for Christmas trees over pumpkins and treats rather than tricks, you’d be surprised at what comes out of the woodwork over the festive season.
Doors & More have searched the world over to find the weirdest Christmas superstitions that get hauled out with the tinsel and baubles. Grab your hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and candy canes (and maybe a dash of Irish cream…we won’t tell, it’s Christmas after all) and take a trip around the world just like Santa will be doing on the eve of the 24th!
Explore your way through Poland, Greece, America, the Philippines, Ukraine and more to see how other countries experience the festive season. Whether you’re simply interested in seeing how history impacts the present in other areas of the world or you want something to talk about at your work’s Christmas party, you’ll find plenty of interesting folklore and myths to share in this infographic.
There may even be some you want to replicate. Whether it’s putting a single fish scale beneath your guest’s Christmas plate or adding your shoe to the log burner, this list of peculiar superstitions further proves that this really is the most wonderful (and peculiar) time of the year!
Appalachian myths tell stories of unmarried women finding out on Christmas Eve what type of marriage awaits them. At midnight, they venture to a hog pen and listen for the first grunt.
If a young hog is the first to make a sound, the lady can rest assured that she will marry a young and handsome man. However, if an old hog makes the first grunt, she will be destined to marry an old man.
If you don’t want to know, stay away from hog pens on Christmas eve.
2) Czechia / Czech Republic
If you’re tired of cooking turkey year after year, you could take a leaf out of the Czech Republic’s book and cook carp.
Place a scale from the fish beneath your guest’s plates to remind them to be generous in the new year. It is believed that it will bring them prosperity, too! A nice extra little gift for Christmas.
Even the UK has its own festive superstitions. On the last Sunday before Advent, families get together to prepare the Christmas pudding. Stirring must be done from East to West, similar to the journey the Wise Men took on their way to meet the baby Jesus.
Doing this is said to bring you good luck and make a wish of yours come true in the coming year.
What smells spark the thought of Christmas for you? Roasted chestnuts? Mulled wine? Turkey and stuffing with gravy? Old shoes?
Yes, you read that right. In Greece, old shoes are burned at Christmas as a ritual to drive away the Kallikantzaroi (the Christmas goblins). The smellier, the better!
Seemingly the exact opposite of encouraging spiders to build webs in your Christmas tree, Guatemala superstitions lead people to declutter their homes on the 7th of December.
The theory goes that cleanliness is close to godliness. By getting rid of all of the rubbish and unloved items accumulated throughout the year and burning it along with an effigy of the devil, you’re burning away everything bad from the year and providing somewhere for good to rise from the ashes in the new year.
Yule logs are known far and wide by their Christmas association. Ancient Latvian folklore involves dragging a yule log through the forest and your home before burning it.
This is done in honour of Mithras, the sun god. The belief is that doing this will bid the dark days away and encourage the sun in the coming year.
Christmas folklore has been passed down from generation to generation in the Philippines. One includes forbidding you to take a bath on the big day. The theory goes that if you take a bath on Christmas day, you may wash off blessings from Jesus and potentially suffer a long-term, odd illness.
If a loved one is born during the twelve days of Christmas, according to Polish superstition, there’s a chance they could be a werewolf or even a half-demon, half-human hybrid.
The only cure is to draw blood from the cursed person’s brow in infancy.
This is a superstition definitely worth stealing if you are missing someone you love this Christmas. In Portugal, you set an extra place at the dinner table in memory of loved ones who have passed.
This is not only a fantastic homage, it’s believed that it will bring prosperity and good luck to your household.
Another superstition revolving around the twelve days of Christmas comes from Serbia. Like All Hallows Eve, this is believed to be a period where demonic forces are more active.
One such demon, the Karakondžula, will jump on the back of anyone it finds outside at night and force them to do its bidding. The victim won’t be released until the cockerel crows at sunrise.
Take a page out of Spain’s book for people who drive you crazy! Wrap up knives or scissors in yellow wrapping paper and the people receiving the gift will be cut out of your life. Not only that, the yellow paper will ensure they have bad luck for the rest of their lives – so beware of the power of your chosen wrapping paper design!
Whether you believe in superstitions or not, we hope this has brought you some joy and entertainment. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ukrainian folklore tells us that finding a spider’s web in your Christmas tree on the morning of the special day will bring everybody in your home good luck. Some households hang spider decorations on their tree as a way to encourage this good luck.
Fun fact, it said this is where tinsel originated from!