Halloween seems like a distant memory now as pumpkins rot away and Christmas trees are dragged into homes and decorated to elicit that cosy winter vibe.
All thoughts of superstitions are put to the back of minds until next year. At least, that’s what you think.
Unbeknownst to many, Christmas is just as superstitious a season as All Hallows Eve. It’s not just a time to enjoy hot chocolate with whipped cream and candy canes or hanging mistletoe. Around the world, many are protecting their homes from Christmas beasts and paranormal spirits.
Doors & More have travelled around the world and collated some of the weirdest Christmas superstitions
that have been born from religious beliefs. Hop on our dark sleigh and join us for our round-the-world trip into the mysterious and creepy world of Christmas folklore.
If you live in Poland and are born within the twelve days of Christmas, there’s a chance that you could be a werewolf or a human-demon hybrid. Although this myth is popular in Poland, other countries throughout Europe believe that werewolf blood could run through the veins of those born during this period, too.
If you are plagued by this curse, though, all is not lost. If blood is drawn from your brow during infancy, you will be cured, apparently.
In Appalachian myth, if a single lady visits a hog pen at the stroke of midnight on Christmas eve and listens, she will be given a clue as to the type of person who will one day be betrothed to her.
If a young hog grunts first, she can rest assured that her future husband will be young and handsome. She should beware though, as the sounds emanating from an old hog will mean that her future love will be an old man. Age is just a number though, right?
When asked what smell springs to mind when you hear the word Christmas, you’ll probably think of the smell of a burning fireplace, turkey, the warm spices of mulled wine.
However, in Greece, you may find the acrid stench of burning shoes spring to mind. One of the festive rituals in this area of the globe includes burning an old shoe. The stinkier the better as the foul smell is believed to drive the Kallikantzaroi away from your home
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Is there anything more Christmassy than a yule log burning in an open fireplace? Well, in Latvia, families drag the log around their house before tossing it in the fireplace.
It’s said that this is done to appease the sun god, Mithras. Folklore suggests it’s the best way to ebb away the dark days and encourage the sun to return soon.
Why a yule log, you ask? Well, the word ‘yule’ translates to ‘wheel’ which symbolises the sun in pagan mythology.
Forget turkey, in the Czech Republic, carp is the dish of choice for Christmas dinner.
If you’re enjoying a traditional Czech Christmas meal and find a single fish scale beneath your plate, you can expect prosperity to come your way. This superstition is about reminding you about generosity as much as it is a good luck charm for future wealth.
The Philippines has a large Christian population and celebrations begin very early by comparison to the rest of the world, with many getting into the swing of things from September 1st.
Throughout generations, many superstitions have been passed down. One of which is not to have a bath on Jesus’ birthday. If you do, you might just wash away any blessings and you could be susceptible to long-term, strange illnesses as a result.
Beware of the "Unbaptized" days! The twelve days of Christmas that we sing about in the UK has a very different history in Serbian folklore. It’s a time when demonic forces are more dangerous than normal.
You’re best off staying indoors during this period, for if the Karakondžula finds you outside at night, it might hop on your back and insist that you carry it wherever it wants. You’ll be held hostage until the cockerel crows at sunrise.
Some superstitions are closer to home than you might think. Reserve the final Sunday before Advent to prep your Christmas pudding. Make sure that you stir your pud from East to West, representing the journey of the Wise Man who followed the brightest star in the night sky to visit the baby Jesus.
Do this, and you’ll be blessed with good luck in the coming year.
This could very well be a superstition worth stealing, especially if you’ll be missing someone incredibly special this Christmas. In memory of absent friends and family, keep a seat for them at the Christmas table.
As a reward, you can expect prosperity and luck in your household next year.
It always feels as though we see more spiders in our homes during Winter. If you find a web in your Christmas tree on Christmas morning, you can expect good luck. In Ukraine, households hang small spider-shaped ornaments on their tree as a way of encouraging fate to hand out good luck.
You’ve heard the old adage ‘cleanliness is close to godliness,’ well, in Guatemala the sentiment is truly taken to heart.
On the 7th of December, Guatemalans will remove all unwanted items and rubbish they have gathered over the year and pile it up outside of their homes.
This ritual includes an effigy of the devil being placed atop the rubbish pile and set ablaze. Known as La Quema del Diablo (the ‘Burning of the Devil’), everything ‘bad’ from the previous year will be turned to ash, leaving behind space for the new year to rise out of the ashes.
If you’re sick of buying gifts for people you don’t even like, this little superstition may be right up your alley. Gift them scissors or knives and, according to Spanish myth, there’s a good chance they will be cut out of your life (hopefully not literally!).
And if you really detest them, wrap their gifts in yellow paper to curse them with a life of bad luck. Just bear in mind though that karma has its eye on you.