We all have our own Christmas traditions with families and friends. Whether it's leaving out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve for Santa, or singing joyous carols with the rest of the neighborhood, these holiday traditions are special. But what about the people who live outside of the United States?
*Shoes Tosses and Marriage Predictions in the Czech Republic
Have you witnessed the coveted bouquet toss at a wedding? Well, in the Czech Republic there is a similar tradition for single ladies involving shoes. According to the My Czech Republic blog, the throwing of the shoe occurs when an unmarried woman throws a shoe over her shoulder towards a door. If fate lands her shoe with the toe pointing toward the door, she is predicted to marry within a year.
*Sweating It Out in Estonia
When we think of Christmas, we often think about adding extra sweaters, earmuffs and gloves to keep us warm and cozy. Estonia, on the other hand, follows a Christmas tradition that will have you peeling off all of those warm coats. According to the EstonianWorld website, there is a great tradition in Estonia of going to the sauna on Christmas Eve after the house has been prepared for evening festivities and before the family heads to Mass. Interestingly, this same sauna bath tradition also happens during Midsummer's Eve, also known as summer solstice. Therefore, if you ever find yourself in Estonia during the holidays, be prepared to peel off some layers.
Most of us think of insects and other creepy-crawlies as nuisances. However, in Ukraine there is a Christmas tradition of praising spiders and their webs. Ukrainians add an unlikely decoration to their Christmas tree: an artificial spider and web. The spider and web is believed to bring good luck. This tradition emerged from a tale of a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree. However, the next morning she woke up to a beautiful sparking web on her Christmas tree that a spider created. So if you have leftover artificial spiderwebs or spiders from your Halloween festivities, consider adding them to your Christmas tree for good luck.
*Take the Icy Plunge in British Waters
Britain has been bravely leading the Christmas tradition of taking a morning plunge into ocean waters for more than 50 years. According to reporters from the Daily Mail, this tradition began when local Ken Cunningham decided to take a swim with his pals in the 1960s. Since then, the Exmouth Christmas Day swim has taken on a life of its own with thousands of people jumping into the cold waters. Dressed in Christmas attire, swimsuits and other costumes, these brave people, young and old, partake in this tradition each year. This Exmouth Christmas Day swim is typically used to raise money for charities as well. So if you're up to the challenge, head to Britain this Christmas for what is sure to be a chilling experience.
Now that you've read about some fun Christmas traditions around the world, try adding some into your own holiday experience.