Whether you like it or not, winter is here. And while we here in the great snowy north have developed a pretty nifty set of techniques for getting ourselves through the winter months, our European friends have some tricks up their woolly sleeves, too. Here are the European habits we want to bring over to the ol' US of A for our winter dose of continental culture...
It's the cold weather craze that everyone's talking about but no one can actually say (apparently it's hoo-ga!). It's all about cozying up and sheltering yourself from the big bad world. Think candles, cushions, and food that comforts your soul — we suggest Chocolate Fudge Brownie, obviously.
In Poland, when December hits, people from all over the country get together in Krakow with their szopki creations. These colorful castles are modelled on the Wawel Castle in the city, and while some are teeny tiny, others are metres high, and it sounds like competition gets pretty heated!
Enjoying ice cream in winter is all about having enough hot stuff to balance out the cool. And over in Germany, the mulled drink game is strong, with glühwein warming hands at markets and ski sessions alike. And, taken literally, it means "glow wine", which sounds like it's guarenteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy in the cold.
Dutch St. Martin's Day
On November 11th in the Netherlands, children arm themselves with lanterns and their favorite songs and poems, and go out to sing for their sweets. A second round of trick-or-treating? Count us in!
Ukrainian New Year's Eve #2
Speaking of double the fun, some places in Ukraine celebrate New Year's Eve twice! The second celebration goes down on January 14th and features all kinds of old traditions: grandma cross dressing, play-acting, pranks, and carols. Sounds kinda necessary if you've already broken those resolutions two weeks in...