Couch Competition: Holiday Traditions Around the World

It seems like no matter where you live, winter holiday celebrations are full of magical — and strange — traditions. 

This week’s trivia challenge by Amy Ferguson, Albion Library Branch manager for Whitman County Library, explores a few.

The Whitman County Library’s online trivia challenge takes place at 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month on its Facebook page.

  1. What treat should you leave out for La Befana if you’re celebrating Epiphany (Jan. 5) in Italy?

  2. What is the name of the Welsh tradition that features a caroling, rhyming horse skull?

  3. What item(s) must you receive for Christmas to avoid being eaten by the Yule Cat in Iceland?

  4. Instead of stockings, what do children in the Netherlands leave by the fire for Sinterklaas, or Santa Claus, to fill?

  5. What major, fast food chain is associated with Christmas in Japan?


  1. La Befana likes broccoli and spiced sausage with a glass of wine. La Befana is the giver of gifts, rather than Santa, in Italy. She flies around on her broom and enters houses through the chimney.

  2. Mari Lwyd. A team of people carries a horse skull on a stick to homes and requests entry by singing a song. The household is expected to initially deny entry, also through song. Thus commences a song battle. If the house relents or loses the competition, the group is allowed inside for food and drink.

  3. The Yule Cat (Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur) is a giant cat that roams the countryside eating children who do not receive new clothing.

  4. Their shoes.

5. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan but after an extremely successful 1974 marketing campaign called "Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!" or "Kentucky for Christmas!," eating at the chain became a yuletide tradition. Some people order meals months in advance and stand in long lines for hours.  

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