Christmas is a time for families to come together and eat turkey. While this is a true statement for the UK, it’s not the same globally. In fact, many unique festive traditions take place around the world this holiday season. If you want to experience something unique and different or just want to learn more, then this article will be for you. Travel experts Audley Travel have compiled a range of useful information here.

Japanese Christmas

Christmas in Japan is a fairly new tradition. Japanese Christmas is a purely secular celebration. You can see lights twinkling and decorations beaming from seasonal markets, but the feel is still distinctly Japanese. Just away from Christmas is New Year’s Day, which is considered one of the country’s most important holidays. This is a time for the extended family to meet and celebrate.

One of the most interesting things about Japanese traditions at Christmas is what they eat during the holiday season. They eat KFC on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. KFC became the Christmas meal of choice following a KFC marketing campaign in 1974. This was known as Kurisumasa ni wa kentakkii. This marketing campaign was incredibly successful and has now become a Christmas tradition. The demand can be so high that locals order their food more than a month in advance just so they don’t miss out.

Icelandic Christmas

Iceland and Christmas go hand in hand. The Christmas holiday here is known as Jól, and festivities kick off a bit earlier than in many other countries. It starts on the 12th day of December. Children put out their shoes for the 13 Yule Lads. These lads are mischievous sprites who leave candy and small gifts for good children and rotting potatoes for bad ones.

At 6 pm on Christmas Eve, church bells ring across the country. More secular families begin their celebratory meal. The feast includes smoked lamb, ptarmigan, turkey, or pork. Alongside the meat, you will find a flatbread known as laufabrauð, followed by gingerbread.

It’s not just the food that makes Iceland at Christmas so special. Many Icelandic books are published at Christmas time, and it’s common to give everyone a book to open on Christmas Eve for them to enjoy. Reading books at Christmas time is an Icelandic tradition. The whole country settles in for a snug night on Christmas Eve, quietly reading with a cup of hot chocolate.

South African Christmas

Christmas falls at the height of a South African summer. Christmas celebrations take advantage of the hot, sunny weather. Most families gather for a braai, which is more of a community event rather than a cookout.

The food is very important, and the menu can include marinated steaks and boerewors sausages. There is also a dessert of malva pudding, which is a soft, sweet cake layered with apricot jam and served with custard. Seasonal decorations include traditional fir Christmas trees adorned with various baubles, including hand-beaded ornaments. So there is some familiarity with this, just in a hotter part of the world.