Close

All MCPL branches will closed on July 4 for Independence Day. Our Virtual Branch is available 24/7.

Back to top

’Tis the Season in Europe!

’Tis the Season in Europe!

December 15, 2021

Every European country has holiday traditions; some you would expect, and others…not so much. In Italy, Christmas isn’t just one day. The Christmas season starts on December 8 (Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception) and ends January 6 (the Epiphany). In certain Italian cities, you may see people dressed as shepherds playing bagpipes in town squares.

Children in Spain look forward to the tió de nadal. He is a smiling log that “toots” presents every year on Christmas Eve. In Iceland, Gryla the giant troll and his 13 sons, the Yule Lads, visit children during the 13 days before Christmas. The Yule Lads leave good children candy and toys. They leave a rotten potato for the naughty child.

In Bulgaria, the Christmas Eve meal is vegetarian and consists of an uneven number of dishes (7,9, or 11). Fortune-telling is a tradition in Russia during the holidays. Christmas Eve takes place January 6. Fortunes are predicted in a variety of ways (from interpreting newspaper ashes or burning threads).

In Austria and Germany, Krampus is a scary demon that is bound in chains with stag horns, matted fur, and eyes of flaming coals. On December 5, Krampusnacht, Krampus swats naughty boys and girls with birch branches. Pepperkakebyen in Bergen, Norway, is the largest gingerbread city in the world. Schoolchildren started this tradition of constructing gingerbread houses resembling city attractions in Bergen, which lasts from mid-November until December.

Check out the Library’s online catalog for genealogy-related books on ancestral customs and recipes. Don’t forget the periodical collection for articles on traditions in the U.S. and Europe.

What traditions for the holidays did your ancestors have? Let us know in the comments below.

Buone vacanze (happy holidays)!

Sheri V.
Midwest Genealogy Center

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

View All Blogs

Read Similar Blogs:
Genealogy

Resources You May Also Like

America's Obituaries & Death Notices

Find obituaries and death notices published since 1980.
More Info

America's GenealogyBank

Investigate resources, some dating to the 1600s.
More Info

Genealogy Connect

Browse and download eBooks focused on genealogy.
More Info

Confederate Newspapers

Search Confederate newspapers from 1861 to 1865 from AL, FL, GA, TN, and VA.
More Info

Events You May Also Like

Blogs You May Also Like

Where Will Your Family History Go?
Read More

Where Will Your Family History Go?

Have you considered where your family history is going to end up when you pass away?
A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Read More

A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Why has everyone heard about the sinking of the Titanic, but never heard about the
The Precious Daguerreotype
Read More

The Precious Daguerreotype

If you have ever seen one, you know how unique and precious a daguerreotype is.
Match Made in Prison?
Read More

Match Made in Prison?

I became curious when I discovered that one of my ancestors was married in Fleet Prison.

Was this page helpful? Yes No