No one is sure how the tradition started, but mumming is the way to celebrate the holidays in Ireland, England, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and, yes, Philadelphia, PA. The tradition usually involves wearing masks and costumes while singing, dancing, and parading through the city streets.
The "Mari Lwyd" (or "Gray Mare" in English) is a Welsh tradition in celebration of the New Year. A group of revelers goes from house to house with one of them disguised as a horse. They stop to sing at each door, hoping to be let in and treated to food and drink.
The Colonel has become a special guest at many Christmas Eve dinners in Japan. Forget the turkey and dressing for the holidays—when in Tokyo, you will need to order up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The demand is so great that many families reserve their "Christmas chicken" ahead of time.
Krampus is his name, and this beast-like creature punishes children in the Alpine region, should they misbehave during Yuletime. Unlike jolly ole St. Nick, Krampus is said to capture naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair.
Italian children look forward to a visit from an old woman called La Befana on the night of January 5, Epiphany eve. La Befana goes from door-to-door to deliver sweets or lumps of coal to children, depending on whether they are nice or naughty. Before leaving, La Befana uses her broom to sweep up the house, symbolically representing fresh beginnings for the new year.
A Danish New Year tradition involves throwing and breaking dishes at your friends' front doors. The family with the largest tower of broken plates, glasses, cups, and other crockery on the first day of the year is considered the luckiest because they have so many loyal friends.
Since 1947, neighbors on one small block of the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore transform their rowhomes into a glittering display for the holidays. On New Year's Eve, "Mr. Baby" makes an appearance (an adult male dressed in nothing but a diaper) to represent the new year as a lighted ball is dropped into a cardboard box.