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Achtung!

Greek goblins, Italian witches, camel wrestling, baby jumping in Spain and a Bavarian town that turns Chinese. Oh, and have you heard about the duck races, beard championship and the Mud Olympics? These are just a few of Europe's odd creatures and centuries-old customs and festivals.

Europe Celebrates End of Christmas: Epiphany's Kings, Witches and Goblins

Europe Celebrates End of Christmas: Epiphany's Kings, Witches and Goblins

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 06, 2010

The Christmas season only really ends in Europe on Jan. 6. Traditions across the continent vary wildly -- from processions of kings and gift-bearing witches to brave souls diving into icy waters. more...

Germany's Weirdest Festivals: Summer Fun, Teutonic Style

SPIEGEL ONLINE - August 14, 2009

Duck races, a beard championship and the Mud Olympics: Germany hosts a wealth of quirky festivals and competitions each year. While some tournaments are a question of brute force, others are all about looking as silly as possible. SPIEGEL ONLINE provides an overview of Germany's strangest competitions. By Stephan Orth more...

Running with the Bulls: Pamplona's Fearsome Festival Gets Underway

SPIEGEL ONLINE - July 07, 2009

Spain is renowned for its bull fights and Pamplona's San Fermin Festival capitalizes on this tradition. With nine days and nights of bull runs, it's not surprising that there have been some nasty injuries in the festival's history. There was a collective sigh of relief then as proceedings got off to a relatively a safe start this year. more...

Beware the Kallikantzaroi: Greek Goblins Run Riot Over Christmas

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 19, 2008

Who says Santa Claus is the only one trying to come down your chimney during the festive season? According to Greek mythology, a gaggle of goblin-like spirits are trying to slide into homes -- and instead of presents they are intent on leaving a trail of destruction. By Danylo Hawaleshka in Athens more...

Presents on a Broomstick: Taking Flight with Italy's Holiday Witch

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 12, 2008

In Babbo Natale, Italy has its own Father Christmas. But it's La Befana, the ugly, broom-flying and present-wielding witch who keeps children on their toes in many parts of the country. Like St. Nick, Befana knows who's been naughty and nice. By Michael Giglio in Urbania, Italy more...

Holland's Politically Incorrect Christmas: Santa's Little (Slave) Helper

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 05, 2008

Few European Christmas traditions elicit as many diverse and divergent opinions as Black Pete of the Netherlands. Santa's former slave may have been whitewashed in recent years, but many still view him as a racist caricature from the country's colonial past. By Daryl Lindsey more...

Goat-Headed Christmas Cheer: Run, Kris Kringle, Krampus Is Coming!

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 02, 2008

In Austria, Santa keeps track of who's been naughty and nice -- and unleases a 7-foot-tall horned devil on the naughty. He's called the Krampus, and he's unlike any Christmas tradition you've ever seen. more...

El Caganer: (S)catalonia's Fecal Christmas Festivities

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 25, 2008

Some of the world's most curious Christmas traditions can be found in Catalonia, where the idea of holiday cheer seems to involve some of life's more basic bodily functions. By Josh Ward more...

Collective Cuts: Circumcision-By-Bulk in the Balkans

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 17, 2008

In the southern Balkans, a small Muslim ethnic group maintains its collective identity by means of mass circumcision. Once every five years, villagers gather to ordain their boys. And to party for four straight days. more...

Raisin Weekend: Foam, Fondling and Malfeasance at St. Andrews

SPIEGEL ONLINE - October 14, 2008

Booze, shaving cream, and shockingly intimate familial relations make University of St. Andrews's "Raisin Weekend" one of the most reliably amusing events of British higher education. more...