5 Traditional Holiday Outfits You Can Wear to Feel More Worldly
1. St. Lucia -- Sweden
In Sweden, December 13 is a day to honor St. Lucia, an old mythical figure that is the bearer of light in the dark of winter. In this northern country that's very dark for much of the cold months, it's no surprise that celebrating light gets an honored spot. There is a procession, and the girl or woman playing the role of Lucia wears "light in her hair," which can be real candles in a crown or wreath, or the modern and more practical version, of electric lights. Pair a long white gown with red sash to go with the crown.
2. Krampus -- Austria, Germany and Italy
While in Europe you want a visit from Saint Nicholas, you don't really want to meet up with his moderately creepy sidekick Krampus, a devilish creature that lashes out at all the naughty children (shown at top of article). Bringing back a bit of Pagan tradition, on Krampusnacht (the Eve of Saint Nicholas Day), adults dress up as demons and witches to scare little children, wandering the dark streets with sticks. Sounds festive doesn't it? To dress the part, find your best demon costume.
3. Mari Lwyd -- Wales
An old Welsh tradition, Mari Lwyd involves a horse's skull that is attached to a long pole and covered by a sheet or blanket. This figure, called Mari Lwyd, was often carried door-to-door by wassail singing groups during the Christmas season. It is a tradition that used to be quite common, but today isn't widely practiced. That could have to do with the difficulty of tracking down a horse skull.
4. La Befana -- Italy
La Befana is an ugly but very nice old witch that visits children on the Eve of Epiphany. Children hang their stockings out on Jan. 5 in the hopes that la Befana will gift them with a present or candy as she flies around on her broomstick. An Italian tradition for many centuries, la Befana actually comes from an old Christian legend about la Befana bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.
5. Mummering -- Newfoundland
Mummering is a Christmas-time tradition of dressing up and visiting houses to celebrate the season that is still practiced in Newfoundland and Labrabor in Canada. Apparently an old English Christmas custom brought to Newfoundland, today there's an entire festival devoted to it. Custom has it, that the disguised individuals make the rounds knocking on doors, and then are invited into homes where they eat, drink and dance while the house owners try to guess who the people are. So grab a mish mash of old clothes and get to mummering.