4 Holiday Traditions Around the World

As we move into December, we arrive at the season of holidays. While in some parts of the world, Christmas is perhaps the most heavily marketed and promoted, it is far from the only celebration during the winter season. Here are four traditions from all over the globe that may be different from what you’re used to celebrating.

Merry KFC

Japan doesn’t celebrate a Judeo-Christian Christmas, being primarily a Shinto and Buddhist nation, but that didn’t stop enterprising advertising agencies from creating a new December tradition. That tradition is to have KFC, or, Kentucky For Christmas, with the family.

What started as some immigrants in Japan making do with fast-food from Kentucky Fried Chicken when they couldn’t locate turkey for the holidays turned into new national tradition. Marketing can be a powerful force for both good and evil, but it’s hard to say where a family KFC Christmas meal falls.

Krampus In The Balkans

While good children are rewarded with gifts from Santa, some regions of eastern Europe believe that no bad deed should go unpunished. Krampus is the anti-Santa Claus, a creature from Germanic folklore that appears in Austrian, German, Hungarian and many other folktales, especially in the Balkan region.

He is supposed to punish bad children, though in the 21st century, the appearance of Krampus is now largely relegated to some people dressing up as the child punisher during the holiday season to put a bit of fear and adrenaline in Balkan children.

Night of the Radishes

The Mexican state of Oaxaca has combined both the Christian legacy of Spanish colonization with indigenous folklore in a fusion of tradition like nothing else on Earth. On December 23, one special event causes entire families to bring out the vegetables they have been growing all year just for this occasion.

“Night of the radishes,” as it is called, is a display of sculpture with radishes. Everything from the nativity to Mexican myth and folklore is carefully rendered in vegetable. It started originally as a novelty by shopkeepers to grab attention and has now become a tradition and obsession.


Celebrated by Africans around the world, Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, having only come into practice in the 1960s. Meaning “First fruits of the harvest” in Swahili, Kwanzaa is a harvest celebration that runs from December 26 through January 1.

It was originally created by African Americans as a way to connect with their ancestral roots. Today, the holiday is celebrated by the African diaspora all over the world, with more and more people cherishing the values of family and faith embodied by the holiday.

When you’re trying to reach out to clients or customers during the holidays, it’s important to respect the traditions of the region. Contact us and let our professional language translation services ensure your message really gets across.

The ITC Global Translations team wishes you and yours a happy holiday season.

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