Terrifying small children, dressing up as a witch, putting scatological figures in Nativity scenes — there are Christmas traditions around the world that might make many of us scratch our heads. But citizens of these nations have enthusiastically embraced these beloved traditions and carry them on for the next generation. In some places, it’s not clear where or exactly when the traditions started, and many have evolved over the years, earning their place as beloved institutions.
So fire up the Yule log, pour yourself a mug of glogg and dive into our most unusual Christmas traditions around the world. And before you get too smug about the U.S. and its traditions, just remember that we have the leering Elf on the Shelf and the hideous brick known as the fruitcake.