From Bonfires to KFC: Unusual Christmas Traditions Around The World


Courtesy of Adam Walsh/CBC

: Japanese individuals wait eagerly to get their hands on some “Christmas Chicken” from KFC.

Mahina Kameenui-Becker, Staff Reporter

When the word, “Christmas” starts popping up everywhere after Thanksgiving, whether it be in a “Holiday Vibes” Spotify playlist or crazy Christmas sales, everyone has a certain image that comes to mind. For people in the continental United States, it might be a snowy scene. For people in Hawaii, it may be going to the beach with the whole family or taking pictures at Honolulu City Lights. Although Hawaii’s Christmas traditions may seem strange to those who are used to staying inside, drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace, there are certainly other traditions around the world that stand out.

Similar to the people of Hawaii, Australians like to bask in the warmth of the holiday season. Christmas falls in the middle of summer, so it makes sense that many families head to the beach and have “yuletide beach parties”. One of the more popular Christmas activities is a tradition called “Carols by Candlelight”. People light candles and sing in outdoor venues like parks or beaches. It sounds like a fun Christmas for those from the land down under!

Although it may seem grave, there is a positive meaning behind Guatemala’s Christmas tradition. “La Quema del Diablo”, the name of this event that takes place on December 7th translates to “Burning Devil”. In this tradition, the people of Guatemala clean their homes and put the trash in a pile in the street. The pile is topped with a figurine of the devil and set on fire. This is said to expel all negative spirits and energy from the upcoming festivities.

My personal favorite tradition is the popularity of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan as a Christmas dinner. The slogan “Kentucky for Christmas!”, which began in 1974, has contributed to KFC’s success in the holiday season. According to Business Insider, an average of 3.6 million Japanese families celebrate the holiday with a bucket of “Christmas Chicken”. But if you’re ever in Japan for Christmas don’t forget to pre-order your chicken, as individuals stand outside of KFC locations for hours to get those “finger lickin’ good” drumsticks and wings.

Regardless of where you are this holiday season, remember to spend time with loved ones – because that’s something that always deserves to be celebrated.