In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with spider webs to welcome good luck in the coming year. As legend has it, a poor family could not afford to decorate their Christmas tree and went to bed with the tree bare, but the household’s spiders heard the children’s sobs and spun intricate webs on the tree during the night. As the rays of the sun hit the tree, the glow touched the threads of the web turning each one into silver and gold, and the family wanted for nothing after that.
Norwegians believed witches came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on so they hid all the brooms. Today Norwegian women still hide all brooms in their house before going to bed on Christmas Eve to honor this tradition.
In Austria, St. Nick has a sidekick, Krampus, who looks like the devil and punishes children who have misbehaved and in Italy, children await the arrival of La Befana. On Epiphany eve, the old, tattered and soot-covered Befana flies around the world on a broomstick and comes down chimneys to deliver candy and presents to children who have been good during the year.
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