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Unique Holiday Traditions Around the World

December 22, 2016 • History Factory

Traditions are an important part of history. They highlight our creativity and contribute to our shared global heritage. Here are a few notable holiday traditions from around the world.


This is an illustration of the South Wales holiday tradition of Mari Lwyd.

Horse Power

For centuries, groups of wassail singers in South Wales, U.K., have dressed as the Mari Lwyd (the Grey Mare), represented by a horse’s skull mounted to a pole, which is carried by a man underneath a sheet. This ancient pantomime is done to ward off evil spirits.

This is an illustration that represents the Christmas meal that KFC markets to residents of Japan.

Kentucky Fried Christmas

Less than 1 percent of Japan’s population observes Christmas Day, but due to a wildly successful holiday marketing campaign, that small demographic often celebrates with a festive meal from KFC.

This is an illustration of the holiday tradition in Norway, where Norwegians hide their broomsticks at Yuletide.

Clean Sweep

In Norway, Yuletide is thought to be peak season for witches and spirits. To keep these malevolent entities grounded, Norwegians make sure any brooms at home are well hidden.

This is an illustration of the Ukranian holiday tradition of decorating Christmas trees with cobwebs.

Web Addresses

Forget tinsel and popcorn—Ukrainians trim their Christmas trees with cobwebs! The tradition is based on the fable of a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree, but awakened to find a spider had done so for her.


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