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(from Portuguese lavrador, “farmer”), a peninsula in northeastern North America, in Canada. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Hudson Strait, and Hudson Bay. To the north and west its coasts are primarily low-lying, with skerries in places. The eastern shore is high and is cut by fjords; in the south the shoreline is rectilinear. Area, more than 1.6 million sq km.
Labrador is made up of Precambrian rocks, including granites, gneisses, and gabbro. Geologically, it is part of the Canadian Shield; orographically, it is the eastern region of the Laurentian Upland. The surface is hilly, with traces of Anthropogenic glaciation. The eastern part is elevated (Torngat Mountains, 1,621 m), and the vast “lake plateau,” with elevations of 500–800 m, is in the center. The Labrador iron ore belt, one of the largest ore-bearing zones in the world, stretches from north to south.
The climate of the peninsula is subarctic and temperate and is strongly influenced by the Arctic Ocean (Hudson Bay) and the cold Labrador Current. The mean January temperature ranges from — 28°C in the northwest to — 12°C in the southeast; the July temperature, from 7°C in the north to 18°C in the south. Precipitation ranges from 250 mm a year in the north to 1,200 mm in the south. Permafrost prevails over much of Labrador. Rivers are full of rapids and are unnavigable, the Churchill being the largest; there are many lakes, such as Mistassini and Michikamau, as well as swamps. The predominant flora consists of forest tundra and sparse forest of black and white spruces, balsam fir, and larch. In the south there are taiga forests, mixed in places with leaf-bearing species. There are good reindeer moss pastures. Labrador has considerable fur resources, including marten, fox, lynx, and muskrat. Most of the population lives along the coast. Iron ore is mined, and there is fur trapping and fishing. The most important cities are Schefferville and Sept-Iles, which are joined by railroad, Fort-Chimo, and Labrador City.
A. V. ANTIPOVA
Epiphany (Germany) (Dreikšnigsfest)
According to folk belief, a mysterious witch known as Frau Perchta (also Berchta or Bertha) wanders about the earth causing trouble between Christmas and Epiphany. In Upper Bavaria, according to tradition, peasants wearing wooden masks go around cracking whips and symbolically driving out Perchta, who is actually an ancient German fertility goddess and custodian of the dead. It is for this reason that Epiphany is also known as Perchtennacht . The Perchta masks, which can be terrifying in their ugliness, are often handed down from one generation to the next.
See also Perchtenlauf
BkFest-1937, p. 131
EncyChristmas-2003, pp. 56, 221, 282
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 9
FestWestEur-1958, p. 54
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 17
Celebrated in: Germany
When the naluyuks enter the house, the children perform a Christmas carol or hymn for them, and the naluyuks show their approval by pounding their sticks on the floor. After the singing, the children are asked various questions regarding their behavior over the past year. If the naluyuks are pleased with the answers, they hand each child a gift from their bag.
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 16
Epiphany (Portugal) (D’a de Reis)
It is common for parents to give parties for their children on Epiphany Day. The Epiphany cake, or bolo-rei, is a favorite tradition at these parties. Baked in the shape of a crown or ring, the cake contains many small trinkets and a single dried bean. Whoever finds the bean is crowned king of the party and must promise to make the cake the following year. At adult parties, the person who finds the bean is expected to pay for the following year's cake.
Epiphany is also a time when the traditional Portuguese dances known as mouriscadas and paulitos are performed. The latter is an elaborate stick dance in which the dancers, who are usually male but may be dressed as women, manipulate sticks or staves (substitutes for swords) in two opposing lines.
Portuguese National Tourist Office
590 Fifth Ave., 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
800-767-8842 or 212-354-4403; fax: 212-764-6137
BkFest-1937, p. 266
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 346, 1082
FestWestEur-1958, p. 160
Celebrated in: Portugal
Authorities advise against the practice, especially in the freezing temperatures of a Russian winter. Still, in 2006, some 2,000 persons were said to have participated in the ritual in the Moscow area alone.
Cathedral of the Epiphany in Elokhovo
Spartakovskaya ul. 15
Moscow 107066 Russia
Celebrated in: Russian Federation
Epiphany (Spain) (D’a de los Reyes Magos)
In many cities throughout Spain, the Three Kings make a spectacular entry on Epiphany Eve, to the accompaniment of military bands and drummers in medieval dress. The Kings themselves usually ride horses, although in the Canary Islands they arrive by camel. One custom was for groups of people to walk out toward the city boundary to meet the Kings, some carrying ladders and some making a huge racket with horns, bells, and drums. Occasionally, those with ladders would pause in the procession while someone climbed a ladder to look for the Kings.
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., 35th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
BkFest-1937, p. 297
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 1063
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 733
FestWestEur-1958, p. 188
Celebrated in: Spain
Epiphany (Sweden) (Trettondag Jul)
In rural areas, the Star Boys go from house to house, accompanied by other children dressed in costumes to resemble biblical characters, singing folk songs and hymns. The group almost always includes someone dressed up as Judas, wearing a huge false nose and carrying a purse or money bag jingling with the 30 pieces of silver he received for betraying Jesus.
BkFest-1937, p. 307
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 735
FestWestEur-1958, p. 210
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 18
Celebrated in: Sweden