By Richard Landreth Director,
Lincoln County Library System
Passing down customs and beliefs from one generation to another is better known as establishing traditions. These can be large mainstream traditions such as Santa visiting on Christmas Eve and opening gifts Christmas morning, to small family traditions such as all adult siblings gathering on the Fourth of July. And when it comes to traditions, some can be quite unique.
Here are a few holiday traditions that fill that “unique” slot:
• The Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines is held the Saturday before Christmas Eve. These lanterns are very large, elaborate, creations and can be made from any material.
• The 40+ foot tall Yule Goat built out of straw and red ribbons for Advent in Sweden is quite the eye catcher and can be traced back to the 11th Century. However, an unintentional tradition starting in 1966 is people trying to burn it down… which has happened 29 times.
• Iceland sports a tradition in the form of Yule Lads. For the 13 days of Christmas, 13 trickster Yule Lads visit children across the country creating mischief. They are also known for leaving gifts for good girls and boys and potatoes for the naughty ones in shoes placed by windows. Good thing I didn’t live in Iceland!
• Hide your broom in Norway on Christmas Eve. This centuries old tradition came about because of the belief that witches and evil spirits emerge to steal brooms on Christmas Eve looking for a ride.
• In Caracas (Venezuela), residents head to church on Christmas Eve on …. roller skates. This is such a popular tradition that roads across the city are closed to cars for safety reasons.
• One of the most spectacular traditions is a relative newcomer to this group starting in 1967. The Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto marks the beginning of the holiday season each year. More than 300,000 LED lights shine around Nathan Phillips Square until the New Year.
• Do you hide a pickle somewhere in the branches of your Christmas tree? If you do, this German tradition can be traced back to the 16th Century. The child in the household that finds it will get a very special gift.
• In 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant promoted “Kentucky for Christmas!” in Japan. To this day, families across the country head to KFC for a Christmas Eve meal. (I could really get into that tradition!)
Whether your traditions are very mild mannered or extremely unique, it is all about gathering with friends and family. How about starting a unique tradition of your own by visiting the local library several times during the Holiday Season? They have great books, materials and programming that will fit into everyone’s holiday! Enjoy your holiday traditions!