15 Memorable Christmas Traditions from Around the World. Christmas isn’t just an American holiday, though, and it definitely didn’t originate in the States. It’s a worldwide holiday celebrated differently in every country. If you live in the United States, Christmas is marked by decorated evergreens, nativity scenes, and the endless sound of "Jingle Bells.” Everywhere else, people participating in Christmas traditions are doing things that might seem a little weird to Americans. For example, in Ukraine, they decorate with the Christmas Spider. Most spiders are pretty creepy, but not this one. It once helped decorate a poor Ukrainian widow’s tree. Now, they have a tradition where they cover their trees in artificial spider webs. In China, they give a gift that many Americans wouldn’t be too happy to get: an apple. These apples symbolize the peace and quiet of Christmas Eve and are so common that many stores sell these colorfully wrapped apples.
Other countries have public celebrations that put the American tradition of lighting the town’s giant Christmas tree to shame. The Philippines have a giant lantern festival that features 20’ kaleidoscope-like lanterns lit with thousands of beautiful lights. In the past five decades, Swedish people have taken to erecting a straw Yule Goat that’s over 40’ tall. Swedish pranksters have a tradition of burning it down. They’ve been successful 37 times. In Austria, young men dress up as the Krampus, a horned demon goat man who terrifies children into being good. In Scotland, Christmas was banned — for 400 years!
If you’re intrigued, read on to get into the Christmas spirit.