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In many areas of Switzerland children are visited by Samichlaus, who in Protestant districts appears on St. Nicholas eve, riding a little grey donkey. His arrival is often celebrated by a parade through the streets. Men dress up in enormous hats lit from the inside and are accompanied by tooting horns, ringing bells, and cracking whips.
In some areas of Switzerland, we find Samichlaus married to St. Lucy. St. Lucy has long braids, a round cap, and a silk apron. St. Lucy makes the rounds with Samichlaus on Christmas eve and brings presents for the girls. An alternate companion to Samichlaus is found in other areas of Switzerland, a demonic sidekick called "Schmutzli". This figure is very similar to "Swarte Piet", a character from the Netherlands.
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