Talking about Christmas time again, Fern? Yes, I believe I am. You were well warned, dear blog follower that I really do love Christmas time.

So far, we know that Ian Thorpe, co-founder of The Africa Trust, will be with the Maasai eating a slap of meal of wood fire roasted goat, no salt.

We know that the great Plum Pudding brandy ignition at the water cooler station is also not happening (rude!) and that much merriment will occur; many mince pies, turkeys, eggnog, roast tatties and marzipan will be consumed – way hay!

But that’s at home on the islands. What unusual traditions are there around the globe that we don’t know about?

On the 4th of December, women in the Czech Republic place a cherry twig under water. If it blooms before Christmas Eve it means she will marry in the next year.

In Australia, Santa often pulls up on the beach on his surfboard. Carollers also gather in masse in major cities to sing by candlelight, and people decorate their homes with ‘Christmas Bush’, a native plant.

In Finland, tradition calls for families to stop by the cemetery and commemorate the dead. It’s also typical for families to lunch on porridge with an almond hidden inside – and the one who finds the almond sings a song.

In India, those who celebrate Christmas decorate banana or mango trees.

Before going to bed, children in France put their shoes by the fireplace. They hope that Pere Noel, France’s Santa, puts gifts in their shoes. He also hangs small toys, nuts and fruits on the tree.

Christmas starts in Oaxaca, Mexico, with a parade of people walking down lantern-lit streets, and knocking on every door to re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Then, they break ceramic plates near the cathedral to signify the year’s end.

The “Tió de Nadal” is a popular Christmas tradition in Catalonia. The log is typically propped up on sticks, and children are encouraged to feed it and cover it with blankets on the nights leading up to Christmas.  On Christmas day, the log is placed in the fireplace and beaten with sticks so that it drops small presents.

And to end off, just in case you are traveling abroad over the festive season, here are some rather lovely expressions with which to wish people a Merry Christmas:

In Akan (Ghana) Afishapa
In Zimbabwe Merry Kisimusi
In Afrikaans (South Africa) Geseënde Kersfees
In Zulu (South Africa) Sinifisela Ukhisimusi Omuhle
In Swazi (Swaziland) Sinifisela Khisimusi Lomuhle
In Sotho (Lesthoto) Matswalo a Morena a Mabotse
In Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya) Kuwa na Krismasi njema
In Amharic (Ethiopia) Melkam Yelidet Beaal
In Egyptian (Egypt) Colo sana wintom tiebeen
In Yoruba (Nigeria) E ku odun, e hu iye’ dun!

However you choose to celebrate this time of year, I wish you, in the words of Ringo Starr, “Peace and love, peace and love.”