Category: Winter

The Lessons of Monsters: As Learned from Cultural Demons Krampus and Namahage

Chris Kullstroem delves into the world of monsters, their cultural festivals and scare tourism...

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Italy’s Pagan Santa Claus: The Story of La Befana, the Christmas Witch

Who is la Befana, the Italian Christmas witch?

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New Year Celebrations: Herrings in Bonnets at Hogmanay?

In a strange old custom, the Dundee dressed herring is dressed in a crepe paper skirt and bonnet combination in bright colours, tied to ribbons, and carried through the streets and into…

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On Gifts and Giving: International Folklore Life Hacks for the Christmas Season

It seems valuable lessons can be learned from Ukrainian, Russian, and Ingush folktales. Here are Daria Kulesh’s top tips from folklore.

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Erotic Folktales: The Yule Buck and the Girl

Simon Hughes examines erotic folktales—a less well known, and often censored, area of folklore—and presents a self-translated example from his work.

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The Nordic Goat of Christmas Past and Present

He used to bleat. Walking upright, a goat the size of a grown man would tramp in from the cold with a sack hanging over his shoulder, bleating.

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Winter Folklore: The Creatures of Christmas

From the animals that witnessed the Nativity, to the robins on our greetings cards and Santa’s reindeer, the creatures of Christmas truly animate the magic of the festive season.

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Folklore Gift Ideas for Christmas

We've started our Christmas shopping early here at #FolkloreThursday, and we thought we'd share some of the wonderful folkloric gifts we've come across on the way!

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Origins of Breaking the Wishbone: Horseshoes, Groins and Chicken Ouija Boards

‘Breaking the wishbone’ is a tradition around the world in the days after a Sunday roast, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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Protection and Punishment: Beliefs About Angels in Tudor and Stuart England

In Tudor and Stuart England, angels were believed to deliver messages, protect the godly, carry souls to heaven, punish sinners, and carry out God’s will.

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What is First-footing and Can It Improve Your Year?

First-footing as a New Year custom is most common in Scotland and the north of England, but it does have regional, and international, variations.

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Kissing under the Mistletoe? Not in Medieval Herefordshire

Mistletoe is the stuff of folklore. It is found in Norse, Greek and Roman mythology, a plant of power and magic.

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Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings from #FolkloreThursday!

What a year it’s been! The end of 2016 is nigh, and it’s hard to believe all of the amazing things that have happened over the last twelve months. To name but…

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Folklore of Food: Traditional Christmas Food

Food and feasting is at the centre of our Christmas celebrations, and folklore and customs play an important part in what we eat.

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Christmas Superstitions: A Festive Survival Guide

Many will declare Christmas to be nothing but “a way for card companies to make money, harrumph!” Whilst Christmas has been heavily commercialised, in recent years especially, the traditions of this time…

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Íslensku Jólasveinarnir: the Yule Lads of Iceland

On the evening of 11th December, Icelandic children place shoes on the sills of their windows, before they go to bed.

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Open the Door and Let Us In: Mummers at Midwinter

The appearance of a Turkish knight, Beelzebub, and a horse’s skull mark out a centuries old winter tradition in rural communities across Britain.

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Midwinter Celebrations: Yule, Saturnalia, and Christmas Folklore

Christmas traditions have evolved through the centuries, many of them have ancient origins linked to the midwinter festivals of Yule and Saturnalia

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Krampus: The Christmas Devil of Alpine Folklore?

Beware! Lock up your children, clutch your mince pies, and huddle in against the snow. Haven’t you heard? Krampus is coming to town …

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Some Words About ‘The Quiet Music’ from Jackie Morris

At present I am tangled in brambles and ivy, steeped in acorns and oak and painting the rhythm of the air as it moves through the feathers of a raven’s wing. I…

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