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Dutch Twelve Nights
Midwinter horn blowing, midwinterhoornblazen, is a Yuletide tradition from 2500 BC. It drives away evil spirits and the horns can be heard up to 3 miles away. Horns are specially carved from birch and elder trees. Competition is held on Janurary 6th and there is much practicing. St. Thomas Ringing is continous bell ringing in the bellhouses of Friesland cemeteries. The bells toll the death of St. Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170. January 6th is known as Driekoningendag, Three King’s Day. An Epiphany: To Appear cake is baked and whoever finds the bean inside is king for the day. A gold paper crown is placed on the head. The holiday season is at an end and families take down their christmas trees. Many Dutch towns have organized burning of christmas trees. (5)
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