Tinsel, Trees, Turtle Doves and Twisted Traditions


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except for the Kallikantzaroi and La Befana.

Forget Santa and his reindeer. In Italy, children peer out their windows in hopes of seeing La Befana, a friendly witch who delivers toys and candy on January fifth. While she might deliver just as many toys, I can’t say she looks as jolly as Saint Nick himself. On the other side of the Adriatic Sea, Greeks fear the Kallikantzaroi, a race of evil, cave-dwelling goblins who surface during the 12 days of Christmas, wreaking havoc. Sagittarius’, beware. If you were born on one of the 12 days leading up to Christmas, you’re liable to become a Kallikantzaroi yourself.

La Befana











The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

With nothing but a hard wooden floor beneath their heads;

Children snuggled under the Christmas tree, beside the warm glow of a dwindling fire, visions of sugarplums and Santa dancing in their heads – seems sweet. In Finland, children don’t sleep by the tree in hopes of catching a glimpse of Santa, but so that the spirits of the dead can sleep in their bed. Benevolent spirits of the deceased are expected to visit homes on Christmas Eve, and it’s only courteous to give them a soft bed.

Sweet dreams — don’t let the spirits bite!


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that Colonel Sanders soon would be there;

A 1974 ad campaign has truly left its mark in Japan – “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!”, or Kentucky for Christmas! While a mere one percent of the Japanese population are Christian, hoards flock to KFC to dine for the signature meal of chicken, cake, and champagne. It goes for about 3,336 yen ($40). Families make their orders months in advance in order to avoid the two hour lines. To see bright-eyed Japanese children with visions of KFC dancing in their heads, see the advertisement below.


And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s sauna

Rather than drink eggnog by the fireside, Estonians head to the sauna on Christmas Eve. After a long day of decorating and cooking in preparation for the celebration, families go relax at a sauna before the Christmas Eve service. The sauna is believed to be home to a protective elf during the day, and ancestral spirits by night. While socks and clothes usually fall to the bottom of American children’s Christmas list, Estonian children receive their first gift at the sauna: a new outfit to wear to church that evening.









“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!

On, KFC! On, Kallikantzaroi! On, La Befana and Blitzen!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

Merry Christmas to all, and to each his own traditions!


— Grace O’Halloran, Staff Writer

Posted by on December 18, 2015. Filed under Just 4 Fun. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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