Christmas markets, Krampus, Santa's surfing on the beach and even KFC, what does the rest of the world get up to during the festive period?

Christmas is coming and bringing the usual traditions along with it.  Christmas trees, presents, stockings, Christmas music, turkey are back on the shopping list as the preparations are well under way.

Tradition is a big part of Christmas but not everybody has the same traditions.  Some people go to mass, some watch Television with their families and others see their grandparents yet others have more alternative traditions. 

In Japan people often go to KFC to enjoy “Christmas Chicken” it may sound odd but Louise Burn and Cara Croke, both students in Dublin say they eat at McDonalds every Christmas eve with their families.   Louise says it’s an annual tradition to kick off the “non-stop eating”.

There are many variations on Irish or American Christmas traditions. In India the population who celebrate Christmas are known to decorate a banana or mango tree, in France children leave out shoes for their presents to be put into much like the stocking here in Ireland.

Christmas is also associated with snow and all the products of the cold winters; snow men, snowball fights and snow angles. However, in some parts of the world snow doesn’t come at Christmas so in Australia it’s not unusual to see Santa’s on the beach surfing or playing other beach sports.

Christmas markets are recently becoming more and more popular here in Ireland but it has long been a tradition in Austria where some families make an annual trip to the Christmas markets.

Interestingly, also a tradition of Austria is the idea of Krampus.  Krampus is a beast-like figure who arrives around Christmas time and either gives miss-behaving children coal or he takes them away in his sack. He is the exact opposite to Santa Clause.

Valentine Chaudron, an Erasmus student in DIT tells us how Christmas for her is very similar to how we celebrate here in Ireland.

 “We have the same exams and the same parties . . . for me it’s the same”. 

The young French student agreed Christmas was similar in the two countries.  She lists attending church, dressing nicely and enjoying food as the memorable moments from Christmas in France and as we know these traditions are not to dissimilar to our own.

It must be remembered Christmas is a Christian tradition and although widely observed not everybody celebrates the holiday.  It is clear, many countries and people have different traditions but none too extreme they are often just a variation on what would be considered normal here in Ireland. 

Courtesy of DIT's Independent college newspaper the Edition