December 16th, 2015 by Boisdale
Weâ€™re just round the corner from Christmas: crunch time. What with the frantic rush for last-minute presents, the massively overfilled shopping trolleys and the interminable Christmas music, itâ€™s easy to get a little tired of it all before itâ€™s even begun.
So if youâ€™re feeling the need to spice things up, why not draw on some of these quirky Christmas traditions from around the world to spice up your holidays? Or, even better, see if there are any cheap seasonal breaks. Well, it never hurts to checkâ€¦
1. Scotland: Christmas markets
Christmas Day was banned in Scotland for some 400 years, so in relative terms itâ€™s still something of a novelty. It only recently became aÂ public holiday,Â in 1958.
Perhaps because of this, Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve celebration, has traditionally been the most important winter celebration in Scotland. Nonetheless, Edinburgh has become famous for its now traditional Christmas markets, which are open from late November until Christmas Eve.
2. Austria: where devils come to play
Austria and Germany are home to one of the most bizarre, and terrifying, Christmas traditions: the Krampus. A devil-like horned creature, the Krampus is brought to life during the build-up to Christmas, when young men dress up in his likeness and parade through the streets of alpine towns in Austria and Bavaria. They have even been known to terrorise those who they suspect of misbehaving, threatening them with whips made of birch branches.
3. Brazil: the home of the 350 ton floating Christmas tree
While the 25th December is a national holiday, the 24th is the day when the celebrations really take place. People tuck into great food and share gifts, and itâ€™s not unheard of to go to the beach (the weather can touch 100 degrees in December). Itâ€™s also common for fireworks to take place at this period, and thereâ€™s no better image than lights going off above the striking image of Rioâ€™s 350 ton floating Christmas tree â€“ the largest of its kind in the world.
4. Estonia: saunas in the cold
As with so many special occasions in Estonia, itâ€™s only special if thereâ€™s a sauna involved. After doing the prep for the Christmas Eve celebrations, itâ€™s traditional to head off for a sauna and a steam.
5. Iceland: the land of 13 trolls
The Icelandic equivalent of Santa Claus is a group of 13 trolls; collectively know as the Yule Lads (or jÃ³lasveinarnir, in Icelandic). According to the countryâ€™s folklore, these figures descend from mountain-dwelling trolls and roam through the hills to terrify children who had not been good that year. Literally translated, their names read like the character list from a Disney movie gone wrong: â€œBowl-lickerâ€, â€œDoorway-snifferâ€, â€œStubbyâ€ and â€œSausage swiperâ€ are a selection.
If youâ€™re looking for a great evening out to really start your Christmas celebrations off with a bang, then why not join us here at Boisdale where our fabulous Christmas menus are sure to delight!