The “Ice volcano” that becomes a very nice attraction in Kazakhstan

Probably the steppes of Kazakhstan’s Almaty region are not the most inviting place to visit, especially in winter time, but there is one unusual phenomenon that has been attracting a lot of tourists in the area.Located between the villages of Kegen and Shyrganak in the middle of a snow-covered plateau is a 14-meter-high ice tower that continuously spouts water which turns to ice almost instantly.The unique structure, four hours away from the Kazakh capital city of Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, looks like a miniature volcano, however, instead of hot lava, it…

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King Frost, a Russian winter legend

The legends concerning Father (or King) Frost are inspired by ancient traditions about this mythical figure that in ancient times appeared in the tales of almost all of Europe. According to one of the most popular version, that come from Russia, once upon a time there lived an old man and his wife. She had one daughter of her own, and he had one of his own, and the old woman took a dislike to her step-daughter. Whatever her own daughter did, she praised her for everything and stroked her…

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February 2: Candlemas, feast of purification

Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a very old holiday with a Christian-Pagan history commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40). According to Leviticus 12, the third book of the Old Testament, a woman was to be purified by presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, and either a young pigeon or dove…

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Møsbrømlefse: the sweet, cheese-filled Norwegian flatbread that keeps Nordlanders nourished during the cold winter

Once a month, in a 130-year-old building in Oslo, Northern Norwegians congregate. Despite the structure itself used to be a health resort, the community isn’t here for steam baths, but for enjoy møsbrømlefse. Made of lefse, a traditional Norwegian flatbread, stuffed with møsbrøm, a caramelized goat cheese and syrup reduction, this treat is sweet, gooey, tangy, and as packed with calories and nostalgia. In Salten, the far-north region where møsbrømlefse originated, dairy and long-lasting ingredients such as flour traditionally held laborers over during long, cold winters. Despite there are as…

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The frozen lighthouse of Cleveland, Ohio

In Cleveland, Ohio, there is a lighhouse that is placed so close to Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes of the Midwest, that a wonderful weather phenomenon takes place. Each winter, in fact, the West Pierhead Lighthouse is literally fully encrusted with ice. It started during the winter of 2010, when local Cleveland news stations began reporting on a gorgeous natural phenomenon: an ice sculpture rising from the waters of Lake Erie. But this wasn’t a work of art, but the lighthouse encased entirely in ice, looking like a…

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29/30/31 January: the Merla days (hen blackbird), according to tradition are the coldest days of the year ~

It was a very, very cold Winter. That year the month of January put every effort to live up to his reputation as a freezing, windy month. The snow was high, and a layer of ice covered fountains, streams and ponds. Even the fire lit in every small and big house in the countryside, did not seem warm enough, in the bedrooms and in the attic, sometimes in the morning it was discovered that the chill night had even turned into ice the water in buckets and basins. People walked…

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La Giubiana: a curious tradition linked to the last Thursday of January in Northern Italy

A great fire that will illuminate the darkness, with the hope that it will burn well and quickly so as to drive away the winter and propitiate the year that has just begun. The traditional ceremony, which this year falls just today, on January 30th, includes a large bonfire where a straw puppet dressed in rags (the Giubiana) is burned, which represents the malaise of winter and the troubles of the past year. The Giübiana, or feast of Giobia is a traditional recurrence very popular in northern Italy, especially in…

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January 1985-2020: the anniversary of the greatest snowfall of the (last) century.

The snowfall of January 1985 in Italy is very popular still today: between 13 and 17 January many cities in the north of the country found themselves covered by almost a meter of snow. The legendary snowfall in these days turns 35. And the memory remains indelible: who was there will never forget it, and who has not lived it surely have heard of it. The beginning was on January 13th, exactly 35 years ago. A very cold day, with the thermometer dropped over 10 degrees below zero. In the…

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Boilo: the original Coal Miner Liquor

In Pennsylvania’s Coal Region, chilly winters have long been accompanied by a powerful and potentially explosive companion, known as boilo. Typically, it’s an orange brew made of liquor, honey, citrus fruit, and spices and, sometimes, raisins or ginger ale are added to the mix. My brother recently learned many truths about boilo, but none more prominent than this: everyone loves talking about its propensity to explode. And it’s understandable: heating up a vat of alcohol over an open flame is not exactly the safest kitchen mission! Boilo is potent to…

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8# The delicious history of the Yule Log Cake – or bûche de Noël

Paris at Christmastime is heaven for sweet tooth. Even if, patisseries on virtually every street corner is attractive at any time of year, there’s something magical about windows packed with elaborately decorated little logs. I discovered that few French people celebrate Christmas without one of these Yule log cake, known also as bûche de Noël, a Christmas cake with a ritualistic and interesting past. Cleverly shaped and decorated to look like a 3-D little log, the cake represents a melding of ancient midwinter traditions: one that celebrated the end of…

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Oymyakon: the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth

The Russian village of Oymyakon is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, which has recorded the lowest temperature in any place inhabited by man and which sees every winter descend mercury to about -71 degrees C°. The remote village, in eastern Siberia, is closer to the Arctic Circle than it is to the nearest city. A monument in the town square commemorates the day in 1924 when the temperature fell to a record 96 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. In any case, Oymyakon is the coldest permanently inhabited…

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5# Sinterklaas Pepernoten – Netherlands

Pepernoten (literally pepper nuts) are little, brown spice cookies very popular before and during the Dutch holiday Sinterklaasavond, or Saint Nicholas’s Eve. Sinterklaasavond occurs on the night of December 5 when the patron saint of children, Sinterklaas (de Sint, or formally: Sint Nicolaas, from whom the modern Santa Claus evolved), distributes presents and sweet treats across the country. Sinterklaas is an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard, supposed to live in Spain. He wears a long red cape with golden fringes over a…

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Akureyri Heart-Shaped Traffic Lights

All we know that Icelandic winters can be very cold. With six months of darkness and icy storms that close roads and bridges, much of the country becomes inaccessible from October to April. This is the reason which led many residents to vacation through the winter months and financial instability can often make these much-needed breaks impossible, as was the case during the Icelandic financial crash of 2008. Despite the economic insecurity and hardships of winter, the northern city of Akureyri was determined not to lose a positive spirit, and…

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