'Tis the season! From KFC in Japan to Caganers in Catalonia – how Christmas is celebrated across the world

If you’re in Norway this Christmas, make sure you hide your brooms away

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The Independent Online

Will you be in Japan this Christmas? Then prepare to eat fried chicken. Or in Germany? Tell your children to put their shoes out, not stockings. How about Norway? Hide the brooms.

Christmas is generally considered a time for giving presents and eating to excess, but dig a little deeper and there are some quirky - and downright weird - traditions around the world.

The UK's obsession with consuming mince pies leaves many baffled – if only for their lack of mince. As does the tradition of stirring the Christmas pudding mix in clockwise direction in order to make your wishes come true.

In Japan, Christmas has become a largely commercial celebration - and nothing says Christmas quite like a KFC. The mass popularity of the fast-food chain is down to a canny advertising campaign in 1974 and sales for the three days around 25 December can be equivalent to half the company's normal monthly sales.

In Catalonia, nativity scenes are decorated with an additional character called a Caganer, who crouches in the straw with his pants around his ankles as he defecates on the ground. And in Holland, the controversial "Black Pete" celebration, in which a white person with a blacked-up face dishes out sweets to children, remains hugely popular, despite international criticism.

Check out our gallery above for some more weird and wonderful seasonal traditions.

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