Money, Magic, and Global Traditions

Hello festive readers! As we dive into the holiday spirit, let’s take a merry trip around the world to discover some quirky financial customs related to Christmas. From coins in shoes to festive lotteries, these traditions add an extra sprinkle of magic to the season.

Italy: The Christmas Witch and Coins in Shoes

Italy’s festive season introduces us to La Befana, a friendly witch spreading joy. On January 5th, children leave their shoes out, hoping La Befana will fill them with sweets and small gifts and leave coins tucked in too! This addition not only delights the little ones but also subtly teaches them about the value of money while eagerly awaiting La Befana’s enchanting visit.

Spain: El Gordo Lottery Extravaganza

Picture Christmas in Spain, and you can’t miss the El Gordo, aka “The Fat One” lottery. Dating back to 1812, it’s one of the world’s oldest and largest lotteries. Families and friends gather to grab tickets, hoping for a stroke of luck. This tradition beautifully blends the holiday excitement with the thrilling chance of striking it rich.

Germany: Christmas Tree, the Festive Bank

In Germany, the Christmas tree is not just a festive centrepiece—it’s a bank! Some families attach envelopes filled with cash or gift cards to the branches. This creative touch funds holiday activities or becomes a delightful surprise for family members. It’s a unique way to infuse the holiday season with a dash of financial magic.

Philippines: Pera o Bayong – Decisions in the Bag

Now, let’s swing by the Philippines for a unique holiday game—Pera o Bayong, meaning “Money or Bag.” It’s a guessing game that spices up family gatherings. Participants choose between a traditional Filipino bag (bayong) with a mystery gift or a cash prize. The catch? The cash amount stays a mystery until the decision is made, adding suspense and decision-making to the classic gift exchange. It’s a fun way to discuss the value of material possessions versus the joy of a surprise during the season of giving.

As we soak in the joy of Christmas, these global financial traditions remind us that it’s not just about giving and receiving gifts. It’s an opportunity to celebrate diverse and fascinating customs that make this time of year truly magical.

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