Did everyone get socks this Christmas? Or maybe a hairy jumper or an ugly bobble hat? If not, you may be overdue for a visit from the Yule Cat. Like the more famous Krampus, the Yule Cat brings a paradoxical element of terror to the festive season by eating people who didn’t receive new clothes at Christmas.

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Over a hundred years ago, Alden’s Oxford Guide described “a curious ceremony annually observed at Magdalen College”. This ceremony was the May Morning hymn, and it’s continued (literally) to this day. On the 1st of May, the choir ascends Magdalen Tower to sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus as the sun rises. Beneath the tower, people gather to listen to the hymn and the bells, then head into the rest of the city to celebrate the arrival of spring with dancing, eating and drinking, and the observance of various May Day traditions.

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A black and white drawing of people looking at a man with a comically large nose.
The Nose Man, 1867.
The festive season in Catalonia, an area in Northeastern Spain, is characterised by several colourful characters. Two have became quite well-known because of their scatological humour, the Caganer and the Caga Tió, but there’s a third who I think is just as interesting.

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