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Christmas Traditions from around the world

13th December 2018
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Today I have been delivering leaflets promoting David Phillip Estate Agents to the residents of Bramhope, and as I walked around this lovely area in North Leeds I was impressed with the number of beautiful Christmas wreaths adorning many of the properties, it got me thinking about the Christmas traditions that we have not only in the UK but also around the world – here are a few.

Mince Pies, inspired in the Middle East and brought back by the crusaders. Early mince pies contained meat, fruit and spices. They commonly had 13 ingredients that were thought to represent Christ and the Apostles and were a large oval shape to represent the manger.  Meat had disappeared from the recipe by Victorian times. Imagine making mince pies in the beautiful kitchen of Rigton House at North Rigton – this is one special kitchen, especially at Christmas!

Mistletoe, hanging mistletoe in the home is a Pagan practise, but I hadn’t realised that for each kiss a berry had to be plucked until none remained!

The Christmas tree has been around for many years in Northern Europe, but when Prince Albert put up a tree at Windsor Castle in 1841 he started the evergreen trend. Have a look at the tree in the living room of Sycamore Fold, which we have for sale in Pool-in -Wharfedale.

In Sweden – there is the Yule Goat made from straw, who is believed to guard the Christmas tree. In the Swedish city of Gavle the community comes together to build a 43 foot tall goat at the start of advent – this has happened every year  since 1966, although since this tradition started the goat has been burned down 29 times – the last time in 2016!

Straw is commonly used for decorations in Scandinavian homes because it reminds them that Jesus was born in a Manger.

In England, the turkey is the star of the festive feast – Turkeys were first brought to the UK by William Strickland in 1526, and although the bird became fashionable in high society in the 19th century, it was enjoyed by the masses when Edward VII made it de rigueur as part of the Christmas Dinner.

Imagine though if you live in Greenland, the traditional Christmas dish Kiviak takes a full 7 months to prepare and begins with hollowing out a seal skin and stuffing it with small sea birds known as auks to ferment. On Christmas day the treat is served straight from the seal!

Spiders are considered to be the symbols of goodness and prosperity in Poland which is a perfect sentiment for the Christmas season – Spiders webs are common on Christmas trees because, according to legend a spider wove a blanket for baby Jesus.

In Iceland there is a tradition known as Jolabokaflod – people exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate – as a result, Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country.

In Norway, people hide brooms in a safe place on Christmas Eve, as it is believed that witches come out to look for the brooms to ride on.

In Venezuela, the residents of Caracas head to church on roller-skates on Christmas morning – the main roads are shut to allow for this tradition to take place.

So, that is my blog that takes us around some of the world’s more unusual Christmas traditions.

To the residents of Bramhope, I hope you received my leaflet this week along with lots of Christmas Cards (that were incidentally set up by Sire Henry Cole and artist John Horsley in 1843 as a way of encouraging people to use the services of the Post Office!).

Happy Christmas to everyone in Bramhope, and North Leeds. We look forward to selling lots of properties in North Leeds in 2019. For a free market appraisal t: 01134 676 400 or visit our website


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