On one hand, winter was a turning point in the farming year. On the other, it was the season that determined the welfare and woes of the people who lived in the dark, cold mountain valleys. Christmas festivities at the beginning of winter now seamlessly lead into carnival celebrations. This was traditionally because the hardship and misery brought on by the long, cold winters was blamed on witches and spirits of nature. The customs after Christmas are, therefore, usually expulsion rituals, with the Tyrolean carnival celebrations leading the way.