Decorating Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and gift-giving are part of many people’s ideas of New Year’s Eve celebrations, but some countries are filled with a seemingly endless variety of Christmas strange traditions, celebrations, and rituals.
From Europe to South America, here’s how Christmas and New Year’s Eve are celebrated in an unusual way according to domestic rituals and social customs.
On the last day of the year, many citizens throw old furniture like soft items out of the window to symbolize and mark a fresh start for the upcoming year. From cushions to blankets, anything that no longer brings them joy will be chucked outside.
Similarly, the Danes throw unused plates that have been saved up throughout the year at the front doors of family and friends for good luck. The more plates you find outside your house, the more luck you’ll have in the New Year, apparently.
In Germany, the young children prepare for Santa Claus’s arrival by placing freshly polished boots outside their doors, along with carrots for the bishop’s horse.
The iconic figure of Christmas goes house to house with a book describing the children’s behaviors and deeds. Depending on whether they were naughty or nice, Santa fills their boots with either something good, like sweets, or something not so good, like twigs.
At this time of year, if you visit Ecuador, you will see people set fire to scarecrows filled with paper at midnight on New Year’s Eve, as well as burning any old photographs that represent bad memories. According to age-old customs, it’s thought doing so helps to banish any ill-fortune or bad things that have happened over the last 12 months.