12 of the Most Peculiar Holiday Traditions from Around the World

The world is brimming with fascinating holiday customs that span generations and defy the ordinary. In this exploration of some of the planet’s most peculiar holiday traditions, we’re embarking on a global journey of celebration, unity, and merriment, where the ordinary is left at the doorstep, and the extraordinary takes center stage. Join us as we uncover twelve captivating rituals that showcase the rich tapestry of cultural diversity and the inventive ways communities come together to honor their unique heritage during the holiday season.

The List of the World’s 12 Most Peculiar Holiday Traditions

1. Jarramplas Festival


The Jarramplas Festival is an annual event in Piornal, Spain, celebrated in January. It involves a person dressed in a colorful costume, known as “Jarramplas,” who parades through the streets while being pelted with turnips by the townspeople. The festival combines elements of tradition and folklore, and it is believed to purify and protect the town from evil spirits. It is a lively and unique cultural celebration that draws both locals and tourists to witness this unusual and vibrant spectacle.

2. Cheung Chau Bun Festival


The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a traditional event held on Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong, China. It features colorful parades, lion dances, and the famous bun scrambling competition, where participants race to climb a bamboo tower covered in imitation buns to collect the highest number. The festival is a blend of religious and cultural traditions, with a focus on warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck to the community. It’s a unique and lively celebration that attracts both locals and tourists.

3. The Mari Lwyd


The Mari Lwyd is a Welsh folk tradition in which a person carries a decorated horse skull on a pole, often covered in a white sheet, and goes from house to house, engaging in a humorous and rhyming battle with the residents. The Mari Lwyd tradition is part of the wassailing customs and is usually performed during the Christmas and New Year period in Wales. It combines elements of Welsh folklore, song, and playful challenges as part of a unique seasonal tradition.

4. Night Of The Radishes


The Night of the Radishes, or “Noche de Rábanos” in Spanish, is a traditional festival celebrated on December 23rd in Oaxaca, Mexico. During this event, artisans carve intricate and elaborate scenes using radishes, depicting nativity scenes, folklore, and other themes. These radish sculptures are displayed in a competition, and the festival is a unique and colorful celebration of art and culture, attracting locals and tourists alike.

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5. KFC For Christmas


In Japan, it is a popular tradition to have Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for Christmas. This custom originated in the 1970s as part of a successful marketing campaign by KFC, associating their food with Christmas. Many Japanese families pre-order KFC meals for the holiday, and it has become a widely recognized and beloved Christmas tradition, with special KFC Christmas-themed promotions and menus available during the season.

6. El Colacho Baby Jumping Festival


The El Colacho Baby Jumping Festival, also known as “El Salto del Colacho,” is an unusual Spanish tradition that takes place in the village of Castrillo de Murcia. During the festival, men dressed as the devil (Colacho) jump over babies born in the previous year, who are placed on mattresses in the streets. This ritual is believed to cleanse the infants of original sin and protect them from evil spirits. The festival is a mix of religion and folklore and is celebrated with lively and unique performances that draw spectators from both the local community and tourists.

7. Straw Bear Festival


The Straw Bear Festival is an English tradition that takes place in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. It involves a person dressed in straw as the “Straw Bear” who parades through the town, accompanied by music and dancing. The festival is a winter celebration with roots in agricultural customs, and it is meant to symbolize the “spirit of the corn.” It typically occurs in January and attracts locals and visitors who come to enjoy the lively procession and festivities.

8. Roller Skating To Mass


Roller Skating to Mass is a unique tradition in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, where people gather on Christmas morning to roller skate to early morning church services. This tradition has been a part of Caracas’ Christmas celebrations for decades and has become a cherished cultural phenomenon. Worshippers and roller skating enthusiasts alike come together for this festive and unconventional way to attend church and celebrate the holiday season.

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9. The Pooping Log


The “Caga Tió,” or Pooping Log, is a traditional Christmas custom in Catalonia, Spain. It involves a wooden log, often with a smiling face painted on it, which is “fed” and taken care of by children in the days leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, they sing songs and “beat” the log with sticks to make it “poop” small gifts, candies, and presents hidden inside. The Pooping Log is a playful and whimsical part of Catalan Christmas celebrations that adds joy and excitement for children during the holiday season.

10. Monkey Buffet Festival


The Monkey Buffet Festival is an annual event held in Lopburi, Thailand. During this festival, a grand buffet is prepared, and it’s not for humans but for the local monkey population. People set up tables filled with fruits, vegetables, and various treats for the monkeys to enjoy. The festival is a way to celebrate and pay respect to the monkeys that inhabit the area and is a unique and entertaining attraction that draws tourists to witness the spectacle of hundreds of monkeys feasting on the offerings.

11. Takanakuy


Takanakuy is a traditional festival celebrated in the Peruvian Andes, particularly in the region of Chumbivilcas. The highlight of this festival is a ritualized fistfight, where participants settle personal and community grievances through physical combat. Takanakuy is a unique blend of indigenous Andean traditions and Spanish influence and is a way for people to release built-up tensions and maintain social harmony. The festival is a colorful and lively event that typically takes place on December 25th, and it is accompanied by music, dance, and festivities.

12. La Tomatina


La Tomatina is an annual tomato-throwing festival that takes place in Buñol, Spain. During the event, participants engage in a massive food fight by pelting each other with overripe tomatoes. La Tomatina is a fun and unique tradition that has become world-famous and attracts both locals and tourists. It typically occurs on the last Wednesday of August and marks the culmination of a week-long celebration in Buñol.


As our tour of the world’s most peculiar holiday traditions comes to an end, we’re left with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the vast spectrum of customs that shape the way we celebrate. From the boisterous laughter shared over exploding logs in Catalonia to the sheer joy of a tomato fight in Spain, these traditions remind us that the holiday season is a time for unity, reflection, and, above all, the enduring human spirit of creativity and celebration. In these unique practices, we find a source of inspiration and a reminder that the world’s diversity is a reason to celebrate itself. As we look forward to the holiday season each year, let us cherish the extraordinary traditions that define our global community, offering a colorful tapestry of joy and connection that binds us all.

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