Do You Know Where These Holiday Traditions Came From?

By: Heather Cahill
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

From egg knoc​king, to baking coins into food, there are many different holiday traditions that are practiced throughout the world. Think you know where they came from? Take the quiz to find out!

In Spain, why do they eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve?

Citizens of Spain eat 12 grapes for good luck at midnight on New Year's Eve. Each grape symbolizes luck for each month of the year. No grapes, no luck!

Where in the world are wells decorated to celebrate Easter?

Wells are decorated for Easter in Germany. The tradition is known as "Osterbrunnen." It symbolizes life by honoring the water we need to survive.

How did the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree begin?

The tradition of putting up Christmas trees came from the belief that they would ward off the Devil! The trees were thought to also ward off any bad spirits from entering a home.

Where in the world do people smash unused dishes against family and friends' doors on New Year's?

This tradition is from Denmark! Throughout the year, families gather up their unused dishes. Dishes are then thrown at the doors of family and friends' houses on New Year's.

Is it true or false that the tradition of drinking eggnog at Christmas came from Ancient Egypt?

This is false! The tradition of drinking eggnog at Christmas time actually came from Medieval times. The drink that inspired it was called "possett."

Where did the Christmas tradition of hanging stockings come from?

The tradition of hanging stockings came from St. Nick dropping money down the chimney, and landing in stockings! Ever since, stockings have been put up to accept presents from Santa Claus!

Where did the Easter tradition of egg knocking come from?

Egg knocking came from Medieval times. It was a game that originated during these times and has been carried on throughout the years. It is still practiced today.

Where did the tradition of hanging wreaths come from?

The tradition of hanging wreaths came from Jesus' suffering. The wreath itself represents life, and the berries on the wreath represent the blood of Jesus.

Where did the tradition of Christmas caroling come from?

The tradition of Christmas caroling came from Latin hymns. Many of the carols that we know today started off with Latin lyrics that were translated and became Christmas carols.

Is it true or false that Poinsettias are a Christmas tradition because they represent the Star of Bethlehem?

Poinsettias represent the Star of Bethlehem and they have become part of a Christmas tradition. The flowers were named after the Mexican ambassador, Dr. Joel Poinsett.

Which of the following is a tradition in Spain?

Caganer is a tradition in Spain. The Caganer is placed in a nativity scene and it is shown defecating. There are a few explanation for why this is, such as the figurine brings good luck!

Where in the world does KFC put on its own Christmas dinner?

KFC puts on a Christmas dinner in Japan every year. The dinner started out as a marketing campaign and quickly turned into a Christmas tradition in Japan. The demand is insane around Christmas time!

Honoring deceased family members on Christmas Eve is a tradition from Finland that started when?

Honoring deceased family members on Christmas Eve in Finland began in the 1920s. Families of the deceased visit the graves on Christmas Eve to light candles for them.

Which of the following traditions is from Iceland?

The tradition of Yule Lad is from Iceland. Children in Iceland leave their shoes on the windowsill for the Yule Lad to visit. They will receive a gift, or a potato, depending on if they have been naughty or nice.

Is it true or false that the tradition of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa came from Medieval times?

The tradition of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa actually came from the story of Odin and Sleipnir in Norse mythology.

Where did the tradition of wearing certain colored underwear during New Year's Eve come from?

The tradition of wearing colored underwear comes from South America. Each color symbolizes something different for the new year. For example, yellow underwear is believed to bring money in the new year.

Where in the world is there a tradition of using spider webs to decorate Christmas trees?

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees with spider webs comes from the Ukraine. It comes from a story about a poor woman who had her empty Christmas tree decorated in beautiful webs by spiders.

Where in the world is there a tradition called "first-footing"?

The tradition of "first-footing" is from Scotland. It is celebrated on Scotland's New Year's celebration called "Hogmanay." The people of Scotland want a dark-haired man to be the first to visit their house for good luck!

Where did the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas come from?

The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas originated from the Three Wise Men who brought Jesus gifts. The tradition was kept up throughout the world on December 25th, the day of Jesus' birth.

From which country is the New Year's tradition of baking coins into food?

The tradition of baking coins into food is from Bolivia. After the coins are baked into the food, it is served. Whoever finds the coin, will have good luck in the new year.

How did the tradition of dyeing easter eggs come about?

The tradition came from the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Eggs are symbolic of rebirth and they are often painted, then blessed by a Priest. Red dye typically symbolizes the blood of Jesus.

From where is the tradition of "mummering"?

The tradition of mummering came from Rome. People disguise themselves and show up at other people's doors, where they have to guess who they are. The tradition eventually made its way to Britain and Canada.

Where in the world does Krampus deal with naughty children instead of Santa?

Krampus is a Christmas tradition in Austria. The Krampus was St. Nick's counterpart, dealing with the naughty children. It is said that naughty children were taken away in large sacks.

From where is Caga Tio, a defecating log?

The tradition of Caga Tio is from Spain. Caga Tio makes its appearance during Christmas time and children must take care of it so that it will give them their presents on Christmas.

The tradition of setting off fireworks in China on New Year's is meant to scare off _________.​

The tradition of setting off fireworks in China on New Year's is meant to scare off evil spirits. The Chinese believe the loud noises will ward off any evil spirits.

Which of the following is a tradition from Estonia?

Visiting a sauna on Christmas is a tradition from Estonia. Estonians and their families get into a sauna on Christmas Eve after their decorating is done.

Where did the tradition of an Easter basket come from?

Baskets became an Easter tradition because they were used to bring food to church. After Lent, baskets filled with food were brought to church for a celebration and meal.

Where in the world do people burn the devil on top of a pile of dirt?

A replica of the devil is burned on top of a pile of dirt in Guatemala. After a home is swept, the dirt is put into a pile with the replica of the devil on top, which is then burned.

The tradition of hiding an almond in pudding is from which country?

The tradition of hiding an almond in pudding is from Sweden. Whoever finds the almond, is said to be married within the next year.

The people of ________ traditionally wear polka dots on New Year's.

The people of the Philippines traditionally wear polka dots on New Year's. Polka dots are thought to represent success and money.

What prompted the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe?

Kissing under the mistletoe came from the belief that mistletoe symbolized fertility. If you refuse a kiss while standing under the mistletoe, it is said to be bad luck.

In which country do people "jump" into the new year from a chair?

This is a tradition from Denmark. The people of Denmark stand on a chair, and jump off at midnight. This is thought to leave bad spirits behind.

Is it true or false that not kissing someone at midnight on New Year's is said to bring loneliness?

This is true. If you don't kiss someone at midnight on New Year's, a year of loneliness is said to be ahead of you. The tradition comes from Europe.

Where in the world are kites flown on Easter Friday?

Kites are flown on Good Friday in Bermuda. This tradition comes from a teacher who used a kite to represent the Ascension of Christ. It became a yearly tradition after that.

Is it true or false that molten lead is read in Germany as a tradition to predict what's to come in the new year?

In Germany, molten lead is melted and poured. The shape it makes predicts a person's fortune for the new year.

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