World’s weirdest Christmas traditions from feeding dead people to pooping logs

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays around the world, with most countries having their own traditions during the festive season.

Although it is primarily celebrated as a Christian holiday, people from all nations, backgrounds and religions have embraced Christmas and made it their own.

And although it is considered fairly common to decorate a tree, exchange gifts and sing carols, some countries have developed their own festive traditions which could seem 'weird' and 'bizarre' to an outsider.

Let's take a look at six of the weirdest Christmas traditions, taking place in six different countries across four continents.

Austria: Krampus

Krampus is well known throughout the world as the demon-like creature that punishes children who have misbehaved.

In Austria, men dress up in Krampus costumes and roam the streets in what is known as Krampuslauf, carrying chains and a basket for abducting especially bad children and hauling them off to hell.

Ferdinand Pacher-Theinburg, 26, who's from Salzburg, told the Daily Star that his compatriots absolutely love the Krampus tradition.

He said: "It's particularly common in the countryside and brings entire villages together out onto the streets. My family loves it, I love it, we all love it."

As the aim of the men dressed up as Krampus is to scare children, sometimes that can cause accidents.

Pacher-Theinburg described a situation when his cousin was so surprised by a Krampus that jumped out at him, that his nose started bleeding.

The 26-year-old explained: "He was so scared of the Krampus that his nose started to bleed and it just didn't stop. His hands were so full of blood, he had to form a bowl. He ran over to our teacher and never left his side for the rest of the day."

Portugal: Feeding dead people

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Christmas in Portugal is a deeply religious holiday, with the traditional Christmas feast, called consoda, held on Christmas morning.

During consoda, families sometimes set extra places at the dining table for relatives who have passed away.

It is thought that the practice will ensure good fortunes for the household and in some areas crumbs are left on the hearth as well.

Catalonia: Beating a log until it 'poops'

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In the Spanish region of Catalonia, locals celebrate the bizarre tradition of caga tió, which in English means, defecating log.

A few weeks before Christmas, families create a character out of a log, drawing a face on it and putting a hat on it.

They then 'feed' the log fruits, nuts and sweets, up until Christmas Eve.

On December 24, the entire family beats the log with sticks and sings a traditional song that translates to "if you don't poop anything, I will hit you with my stick" until the log excretes all its treats.

Eiki Homma, 27, who is from Tarragona, told the Daily Star how as a child he was so happy partaking in this tradition.

He said: "Sometimes all the goodies were under the blanket that covers his wooden body, but adults made it so that we didn't see anything.

"Some other times, we were asked to kindly leave the room before lifting the blanket and discovering the gifts. We were so naive and happy."

Venezuela: Roller skating to church

In the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, it is customary that people roller skate to church in the week leading up to Christmas.

From December 16 and up until Christmas Eve, roads are closed to provide worshippers safe passage as they roller skate to early morning Christmas mass, called Misa de Aguinaldo.

On their way, skaters will tug on the ends of long pieces of string tied by children to their big toes which are dangled out of the window.

Japan: KFC obsession

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Forget Christmas turkeys in Japan.

Instead, for many Japanese people, traditional Christmas dinner is fried chicken and in particular KFC.

Due to a combination of tiny Japanese ovens and a clever marketing campaign convincing locals that fried chicken is a traditional American Yuletide feast, reservations have to be made to eat at a KFC on Christmas Day.

During the run-up to Christmas, Colonel Sanders statues outside KFC’s Japanese restaurants wear Santa gear.

Robin Kosuge, 26, who is half-Japanese, told the Daily Star that Japanese KFC branches are "always booked" on Christmas Day and described Japanese KFC as "amazing".

South Africa: Eating fried caterpillars

If you thought eating KFC on Christmas Day was bizarre, things are only going to get weirder, as people in South Africa eat fried caterpillars on December 25.

In particular, South Africans indulge in the pine tree emperor moth, or more affectionately known – the Christmas caterpillar.

They reportedly taste similar to tea and are supposed to be surprisingly nutritious.

This 'treat' is deep fried and covered in festive hues, giving all those who try it a little extra luck in the new year.

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