It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year
There’s a special festive feeling running through the air during the December holidays. Irrespective of culture or creed, most families throughout South Africa gather over this time of year, which means spending more time with the people that you may not regularly see.
The conversation-well can sometimes dry up, so to drum up more dialogue, we’ve collected a list of interesting ways that families around the world observe the season. Let’s take a peek!
Whether you realise it or not, you probably have some traditions that others may find fascinating, despite it being just another thing you do. You’ll see this phenomenon occur throughout the globe.
For example, you’ll find many people baking bread on Christmas Eve because there’s an old wives’ tale that says it will never go stale. If you see a feathery tree in Germany, don’t be alarmed. It may be a remembrance of their first artificial trees which were made from dyed goose feathers.
Ready for more? We’re about to dive into the depths of different December traditions.
Santa Has a Zip Code
Every year many excited kids write letters to Santa and beg their parents to post it. How else will Santa get their message? Sadly, most of them are unmarked, and the postal service gets snowed under. Canada came up with a brilliant idea. They gave Santa a zip code, “HOH OH”. To put the icing on this cookie, the Canadian postal service elves make sure that each child gets a response!
A New Meaning to “Mass” Skating
Every year between the 16th and 24th of December an extraordinary thing happens in Caracas, Venezuela. The streets are closed, and the members of the community roller skate to early morning mass each day. Skaters tug on pieces of string dangling out of windows – that are attached to sleeping children’s toes on the other end! It’s a way to wake them up and tell them to get rolling.
The Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians have a legend that says a spider wove a blanket for baby Jesus when he was born. They believe that a spider or web on your Christmas tree will bring you good luck and prosperity.
For this reason, you’ll find silver and gold spiders and spider web ornaments adorning their Christmas trees.
Traditions That Will Leave You Pickled
No, we’re not talking eggnog or Gluhwein, we are talking about an actual pickle. In some homes in Spain and Germany families invest in a green glass pickle ornament. Late on the 24th, the pickle is hidden in the tree. On Christmas morning the children will rush to find the pickle. The first kid to find the pickle is said to be blessed with good luck for the following year and, as a bonus, they receive an extra present.
To Americans, the phrase “Pets are part of the family” couldn’t be more accurate. According to factsite.com over half of American Pet owners buy their animals Christmas gifts and will spend an average of $46 on a furry family member. Then to make it even more special, theholidayspot.com found that almost 56% of Americans will sing to their pets during the holiday period. How’s that for a furry story?
Ending meals with Malva
Here at home in SA, we wouldn’t bat an eyelid at Malva pudding after a delicious meal. It’s probably one of the courses to which we look most forward. Surprisingly (to us, at least) this dish is unique to our country!
Little is known about the dish’s exact origins within SA as well as how it got its name. All we know for sure is that we love it served piping hot with custard.