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Many More European Holiday Traditions

Many More European Holiday Traditions

December 20, 2023

As you prepare for your holidays, I thought we would take another look at more European holiday traditions. (‘Tis the Season in Europe! and ‘Tis the Season in Europe Again!) Do you practice any of these with your family?

In Norway, evil spirits and witches are said to break free on the day before Christmas. Norwegians protect themselves by stashing away their brooms, which could be taken by witches to travel across the country and also to ward off evil spirits.

Mari Lwyd (pronounced Marie Loyd) in Wales is a horse skull decorated with ribbons, ornaments, and a veil mounted on a stick. The skull is paraded by a small group around the village who demand entry into houses while singing songs. If they are let in, the house's inhabitants are said to have good luck next year.

On Christmas Eve, the Danish drag their Christmas tree to the middle of the room and dance around it to Christmas carols.

In Sweden, also on Christmas Eve, families gather around TVs and watch vintage Disney cartoons. The custom originated when TVs only had a few channels in Sweden, and this was the only time families could watch American Disney cartoons.

Bulgarians prepare a special kind of bread called колаче (kolache), similar to a pretzel. Single boys and unmarried men dress up in traditional clothes and go out singing songs. The lyrics wish good luck and prosperity to everyone who invites them in. The songs are tailor-made for those who live at the house, be it a single girl or an elderly couple. The families give the singers kolache and other gifts. 

Genealogy is more than just names and dates; it is traditions and stories that enrich the search. As your family gathers for the holidays, what traditions do you observe? Our Tell Me A Story kits can preserve those stories. To find out more, contact us at 816-252-7228 or stop into the Midwest Genealogy Center, located at 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Rd. Independence, MO 64055.  Happy holidays!

Sheri V.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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