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Whether you’re celebrating a religious festival, like Hanukkah or Christmas, or a more secular occasion, you’re sure to have your own selection of rituals or customs that make the holiday season so special.

Here are just some of the different ways people celebrate Christmas around the world.

Giant Lantern Festival – Philippines
Also known as Ligligan Parul Sampernandu, it is held each year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando. Eleven barangays (villages) take part in the festival and competition is fierce as everyone pitches in trying to build the most elaborate lantern, made from a variety of materials and illuminated by electric bulbs.

Gävle Goat – Sweden
Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat has been built to go up in December 1st each year in the centre of Gävle’s Castle Square for the Advent.

Krampus – Austria
Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, young men dress up as the Krampus (especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day) frightening children with clattering chains and bells.

Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner – Japan
A new, quirky “tradition” has emerged in recent years – a Christmas Day feast of the Colonel’s very own Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The Yule Lads – Iceland
In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 tricksy troll-like characters come out to play in Iceland. The Yule Lads (jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar in Icelandic) visit the children across the country over the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. For each night of Yuletide, children place their best shoes by the window and a different Yule Lad visits leaving gifts for nice girls and boys and rotting potatoes for the naughty ones.

Saint Nicholas’ Day Germany
Not to be confused with Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas), Nikolaus travels by donkey in the middle of the night on December 6 (Nikolaus Tag) and leaves little treats like coins, chocolate, oranges and toys in the shoes of good children all over Germany, and particularly in the Bavarian region.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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