WATCH: Attempting to burn straw goats and other Christmas traditions around the world

2017-12-24 08:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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'Tis the time for festive cheer, because Christmas is here!

South Africa may not get the traditional 'white Christmas', but we prefer our sun-soaked festive holidays on the beach or in the bush to the cold snow any day, and it also means we can have a braai for Christmas lunch!

SEE: Ditch the crowded malls at one of these SA Christmas markets

Though we have a multitude of traditions throughout our Rainbow Nation, there are some Christmas traditions around the world that will leave all Saffas scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the malva pudding.

From eating KFC to reindeer, to pooping figurines and trying not to get on the bad side of Krampus, there are some cool and less cool traditions you could try out this festive season.

Fighting with your uncle about the latest in politics however is a universal Christmas tradition.

The Christmas Goat that can't catch a break

The Swedish town of Gävle have been making a massive straw Yule goat every Christmas since 1966, and since then half of the town has been trying to destroy it every year. It has been destroyed 37 times, yet each year they put up another one.

Last year it managed to make it out unscathed, according to ABC, but this year an attempt has already been made on its 'little brother', who came away with only a few singe marks.

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Some chicken takeaway for Christmas lunch

Unique to Japan, a KFC Christmas meal is the result of a marketing campaign from the takeaway giant that turned into a cultural phenomenon. According to BBC, an estimated 3,6 million Japanese families partake in a KFC meal in a country where traditionally Christmas wasn't celebrated. 

KFC saw an opening and now you'd have to book your KFC meal weeks in advance or stand in line for hours on Christmas Day. The meal has also morphed to include cake and wine, while a smiling Santa-clothed Colonel Sanders watches over the festive meals.

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Having Rudolph for dinner

Santa better make sure his sleigh crew is safely hidden away. Reindeer steak is a festive main course in places like Finland, Iceland and Alaska in the US, a game meat that's similar to our springbok. 

It's tried to make its way to places like the UK and other parts of US, but people were not too keen on devouring Santa's friends. You can prepare the meat into a burger, tenderloin, sausage or just a well-done steak, though not too sure how it will do on a braai. Just make sure your little cousins don't know what you're serving up for lunch.

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Don't let Krampus get you

Did you know that Saint Nicholas had an emo brother Krampus? Instead of presents, this anti-Santa likes to beat naughty children and drag them to his lair for some devouring. He's well-known across Europe and featured in traditional parades where people dress up like the demonic alter ego.

He's normally depicted with two longs horns of a devilish nature, in a big fur coat with goat legs and a demonic face, but it can vary across the regions. He even featured on Christmas cards known as 'Krampuskarten', because who doesn't want to be petrified for Christmas?

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The Christmas decoration that will make your grandmother blush

The Catalonians in Spain are... an interesting bunch. Their traditional Christmas decorations include El Caganer, The Great Defecator. No one knows where this little pooping figurine comes from, but it has been around since the 18th century.

Today, some represent celebrities and other public personalities (of course a Trump one exists) and is mildly tolerated by the predominant faith of Catholicism. So if you're ever in the area, be sure grab your very own pooper for your South African nativity display.

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Treats left for Santa as he jaunts across the world

Most people know that the Big Red Man's favourite snack is cookies and milk, but he seems to have different tastes in different parts of the world. German children prefer to leave letters than snacks, while the Swedes think that all he really wants is some coffee to keep him going through his busiest time of year.

Some parts of Europe and the South Pacific however think that Santa's parched for something a little stronger, like an ice cold beer, and in our summer climate he'd probably prefer that as well - craft though. Dutch kids are more concerned for his reindeer, leaving out carrots for Prancer, Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and the spotlight-stealing Rudolph.

He better watch out for the reindeer eaters.

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