We hope you’re ready. Because the next month and a half is going to be jam packed with Christmas/New Years fun and festivities. 

But winter time isn’t warm and fuzzy everywhere. For many, this is a time to banish evil and chase evil spirits away.

So take a look at these 3 alternative winter celebrations. You might find some a little chilling…

 

December 5th: Eastern Europe - Krampusnacht

The Krampus is an evil creature, a bit like the devil, who works together with St Nick to scare naughty children into behaving.

 In Germany and Eastern Europe, Santa isn’t the only large, furry creature trying to get down your chimney. On the 5th December, the Krampus comes to town!

The Krampus is an evil creature, a bit like the devil, who works together with St Nick to scare naughty children into behaving.

Kind of ironic when on Krampusnacht, local father’s meet up, dress up, and run through the streets shouting at children.

Definitely not the 'sit on Santa's knee' vibe.

 

December 7th: Guatemala La Quema del Diablo

La Quema del Diablo

La Quema del Diablo (or ‘the burning of the devil’ in English) is a bit like Guy Fawkes night, where people all around Guatemala burn effigies of the devil.

But whereas we burn ‘guys’ for a bit of fun, La Quema del Diablo in Guatemala is ‘making way for Mary’ – banishing the bad so the good can be reborn from the ashes.

 

December 30th – January 1st: Scotland - Hogmanay

 

Held every December 7th, the day before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, locals believe that Mary cannot bring Jesus into the world while any Hogmanay marks the last day of the year in Scotland. It’s a time for celebration and hope.

One of the most famous parts of Hogmanay is the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ by Roberts Burns. And it translates as ‘for the sake of old times’, if you were wondering.

But it’s not all wholesome fun and games. Some local customers symbolise the banishing of bad times in order to let in the good.

Like in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, where the night is lit up by locals swinging flaming balls of chicken wire around their heads.

Or the old Highland custom of Saining. After sprinkling magic water around the house, they close all the windows and doors. Then, when fresh air is down to a minimum, they carry flaming juniper around the home with all windows and doors closed, until it causes sneezing and coughing from everyone inside. Then, when everyone is spluttering, the doors and windows are flung open letting in fresh air. Allowing everyone to breathe again.

Heard about any other creepy Christmas festivals on your travels? Let us know about them in the Facebook comments section!