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I found this small article on the web, I found it very interesting as I love folklore and I can confirm the bit about the italian Befana. So I was wondering, since this is an international forum and all, if somepony has some folkish tale to share about their own winter traditions. Here is the article if you wanna read it: Holiday Traditions from around the world Germany There is so much celebrating that it has to begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs. Italy On Christmas Eve, Italian children hang their stockings by the chimney where it remains empty until Jan. 6, the Befana day (also known as the Epiphany,) when the befana (during the night) fills it with sweets or coal, depending on whether the children were good or naughty. (The Befana is an old woman (witch) that flies on a broom; she is considered nice and kind.) Spain Christmas dinner is never eaten until after midnight. Christmas Day is spent at church, at feasts and in more merry-making. It is not Santa who comes to Spain bearing gifts, but the Three Wise Men. Mexico On Christmas Eve, small children dressed as shepherds stand on either side of the nativity scene while members of the company kneel and sing a litany, after which the Christ Child is lulled to sleep with the cradle song, "El Rorro" (Babe in Arms). At midnight the birth of Christ is announced with fireworks, ringing bells and blowing whistles. Devout worshipers surge into churches to attend the famous "Misa de Gallo" or "Mass of the Rooster." Following Mass, families return home for a tremendous dinner of traditional Mexican foods. Christmas Day has no special celebration though many have adopted the American style Christmas with a Christmas tree and Santa Claus. France Family celebrations begin with the decoration of the Christmas tree a few days before Christmas; candles and lights, tinsel and many colored stars are attached to it. On Christmas Eve when the children are asleep, little toys, candies and fruits are hung on the branches of the tree as a supplement to the gifts Santa Claus has left in the shoes before the fireplace. Puppet shows are also given every year for Christmas. At midnight everyone attends the Christmas mass. When the family returns home after midnight mass, there is a late supper known as "le réveillon." Ordinarily, young children do not attend midnight mass with their parents, but go to bed early to dream of their Christmas gifts. Before going to bed, they put their shoes by the fireside for a gift from "le père de Noël" or "le petit Jésus." Japan The Nativity scene is given a corner in every Christian house. They also have turkey for Christmas dinner, Christmas trees, evergreens and mistletoe in their stores and homes and even Hoeiosho, the Japanese equivalent of Santa Claus, who is a Buddhist monk bearing gifts for the children. The family members exchange gifts and send cards with the true heart of giving. Japan’s Christmas traditions for Japanese Christians are to spend the day for worship, and charity for the poor and sick. The children perform plays re-enacting the Nativity scene on Christmas Eve. Unique Christmas traditions of Japan are Christmas Cakes, Fried Chicken, and Daiku. China Christians in China celebrate by lighting their houses with beautiful paper lanterns and decorating their Christmas trees, which they call "Trees of Light," with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Chinese children hang muslin stockings and await a visit from Santa Claus, whom they call Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) which means "Christmas Old Man."