Advent Calendar
Learn a new Christmas custom everyday
Christmas traditions around the world are wonderful, interesting and sometimes a bit weird but guaranteed to put you in the festive spirit. It's the most enjoyable time of the year. For a few weeks every year the world becomes a magical place, people seem happier and even winter is gorgeous as the Christmas lights glow in the night. Discover the origins of Christmas traditions from around the world day by day.
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Christmas Spider
The cobweb bring good fortune (Eastern European folktale) In the Ukraine, Christmas trees have an extra decoration. This weird ornament is nothing but a spider web. The tradition of spider webs on the tree is based upon a folktale. There once was a widow who lived in an old hut with her children. One summer day, a pine cone fell on the earthen floor of the hut and took root. Children cared for the tree, excited at the prospect of having a Christmas tree by winter. The tree grew, but when Christmas Eve arrived, they could not afford to decorate it with ornaments for Christmas. The children sadly went to bed on Christmas eve, knowing that they would have a bare Christmas tree on Christmas morning. The spiders in the hut heard the sobs of the children and sad cries and decided they would not leave the Christmas tree bare. So, the spiders created beautiful webs on the Christmas tree, decorating it with elegant and beautiful silky patterns. When the children woke up early on Christmas morning they were jumping for excitement when saw the Christmas tree covered with beautiful cobwebs. The youngest child opened the window to the first light of Christmas Day. When the rays of sunlight touched the webs turned them into gold and silver. The widow and her children were overjoyed. From then on, they never lived in poverty again. Therefore, the Ukrainians decorate their Christmas tree with a spider web. It’s believed that the webs will bring good fortune and luck for the upcoming year.
Luca széke (Lucy’s stool)
See the witches on Christmas Eve (Hungarian folklore) In the Hungarian folk tradition this is the most exciting day of the advent in the period of preparations for Christmas. Hungarians not only have birthday, but name day as well. 13th December is the name day of Luca. Named after the Christian virgin, St. Lucy's day (Lucia or Luca’s day - "Luca napja") is one of the richest in customs and superstitions in Hungary. Before the Gregorian calendar reform, it was the shortest and darkest day of the year, and it marked the beginning of the winter solstice. It is for this reason that numerous traditions and magic fertility games are linked to Lucy’s Day. The most widely known custom of Lucy’s day tradition is the making of Lucy’s stool (Lucy chair - "Luca szék"). It is a small wooden stool with three legs. The construction of the chair started on December 13 ended to 24 December, using 13 kinds of wood, and the work had to be spread out to 13 days. They have the idiom about if it is something is really slow: “that it is being made that slowly then Luca’s chair”. Whosoever took this stool to the Midnight Mass on the second day of Christmas and stepped on it could spot the witches in the church. This day has a special meaning from the weather-forecast’s point of view as well. On the basis of the following 12 days weather a prediction could be drawn on next year’s weather. For example: if 15th December was a rainy day that means next March would be rainy too.