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Quaint Christmas Customs
by Walt Giersbach

In the Czech Republic, fortunes are told on Christmas Eve by pouring hot wax into guests’ boots and studying the curious expressions on their faces.

In the Philippines, children pass from house to house singing this quaint carol: “We are little angels flitting from house to house / If you don’t give us candy we will break all your windows.” Residents usually comply.

In Spain, tradition has it that gifts are left by the Wise Men passing out on their way to Bethlehem. Children leave their shoes on the window sill filled with straw for the Magi's horses. Next morning, the straw is gone and, often, the shoes too.

On sunny Pitcairn Island, children go out on Christmas morning and build rock men. Round rocks are piled atop one another in the shape of a crude human figure. Afterward, the jolly children have rock ball fights. The custom has passed on to the Emirate of Abu-Dhabi where children build sand men. Very tiny sand men.

In the frozen foothills of the Siberian mountains, Christmas often lasts 39 days. Inhabitants of that area drink a potent wine made of fermented bark beetles. Along about February, one of the villagers has a vision of Santa riding an elephant and everyone tries to find their way home.

In England, a pie is made of suet, oil, graham crackers and lard. The lucky ones who do not swallow coins that have been placed in the pie will have the good fortune to live until the next pie is consumed.