Yuletide Oddities: The World Santa Claus Conference and More

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No need to worry, Santa can handle it all!
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No need to worry, Santa can handle it all!

It is time for the annual World Santa Claus Congress to be held. It happens every year, always taking place in the Dyrehavsbakken amusement park in Denmark. This wacky event has taken place every year without fail since 1957, and it is devoted to spreading good Christmas Cheer, allowing people from all over to meet and socialize with many different professional and amateur Santa Clauses.

Part social event and part networking opportunity, the World Santa Claus Congress gives professional Santas a chance to interact, share their experiences and hopefully find new job connections. It also allows them the opportunity to interview Santa Clauses from other parts of the world to find out how the traditional Christmas profession differs elsewhere. This event was created in the late '50s by professor Trabini, a local Denmark entertainer. The event is held in July because Tribini felt like Christmas should never be held just one time each year. Besides, December is always too busy a month for St. Nick to take a moment away from his post at the North Pole. Learn more about this event on the official World Santa Claus Congress web site.

While this might seem like a strange event to many people, it is far from being the only yuletide oddity out there. There are several other strange events that take place before and after the Christmas season. From Japan all the way to Italy, weird Christmas traditions have become commonplace all over the world.

The Japanese culture has always been one of colorful, often strange innovations. Japan is always making news headlines, whether concerning new technologies or the world-famous story about the Japanese man who married his "Virtual Girlfriend." While these things are certainly strange, they don't hold a candle to a certain "Kentucky-Fried" Christmas tradition in Japan.

On Christmas day, lines of people can be seen wrapped around local Japanese KFC locations. These citizens are all waiting for a holiday treat which is famously known in Japan as "Christmas Chicken." Invented by marketing experts at KFC, the Christmas Chicken special was conceived as a way to help boost sales during the holiday season. It caught on, alright. Becoming part of Japan's cultural whirlwind, the Christmas Chicken is now a well-loved, Japanese tradition. There is even a commercial promoting it.

Italy sports a rather odd alternative to Santa Claus -- a witch named "La Bafana." Many years ago, the Vatican realized it was neither able to prove nor disprove the existence of a modern-day St. Nick, so Catholic leaders invented a tale about a kindly old witch who delivers presents to young children every Christmas. While this may not exactly be a Christmas event, it bears mentioning among these other oddities. After all, the idea of a child sleeping in his bed dreaming of an old witch breaking into his house to leave him presents sounds a little creepy, at least to this reporter.

Whichever strange Christmas traditions you subscribe to, remember to always spread good cheer to your fellow man. Not only during the holidays, either. Indeed, as proved by the World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark, goodwill and yuletide fun can be had year-round.

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