We’re just a few days away from the most festive month of the year!
The Philippines celebrates Christmas as early as September by setting up Christmas decorations and buying gifts in time for Ber promos, but what do other countries do this season?
China’s Christmas Village
Forget the North Pole, the balmy town of Yiwu is where most of the world’s Christmas magic is manufactured and plucked by foreign traders. From Christmas lights and tree ornaments to plastic Santas and candy canes, Yiwu market booth owners (who are also industrial manufacturers) show their competitively priced products in a boxy mall with over 70,000 niche booths.
Prior to the pandemic, the Christmas Village manufactured more than 60% of all Christmas decorations in the world through Yiwu’s wholesale market. Around sixty thousand booths were lined up in a Divisoria-like mall that sold anything and everything plastic and cheap wholesale.
Someone in the 16th century thought that coal was not punishment enough for erring boys and girls and birthed the horrifying creature called Krampus to life. They say when you’re good, St. Nicholas (or Santa Claus) will bring gifts and treats; when you’re bad, Krampus will come and drag you to the underworld.
Today, Krampus is still a significant tradition in some parts of Austria and Germany; on Krampus Night or Krampusnacht on December 5, adults dress as Krampus to scare their naughty children into behaving. In larger cities, organized processions of men dressed in Krampus would entertain onlookers in the streets.
Japan’s Kentucky Fried Chicken
Sometime after WWII, Japan was experiencing rapid globalization as Western entrants introduced fast food chains like KFC to the Japanese. The country did not have a dominant religion and celebrated the year-end non-secularly; thus, Japan’s traditions were still malleable and prone to Western influences.
Since turkey was difficult to source in Japan, fried chicken was the next best thing for festive feasts. Today, it is customary for Japanese families and couples to buy KFC fried chicken buckets for dinner. You bet KFC is at its busiest this season.
Venezuela’s Rollerskating Mass
Like the Philippines, Venezuela was also heavily influenced by Spain’s religious conquest. The population is predominantly Roman Catholic and Christian and therefore perceive Christmas as a significant spiritual holiday so, on Christmas, churchgoers attend mass– but they do it on roller skates.
Roads are blocked to allow churchgoers to safely travel on roller skates. After the mass, families gather on the streets to eat and be merry.