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A snowflake is either a single ice crystal or an aggregation of ice crystals which falls through the Earth's atmosphere. They begin as snow crystals which develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Complex shapes emerge as the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity regimes, such that individual snowflakes are nearly unique in structure. Snowflakes encapsulated in rime form balls known as graupel. Snowflakes appear white in color despite being made of clear ice. This is due to diffuse reflection of the whole spectrum of light by the small crystal facets.

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The snowflake is often a traditional seasonal image or motif used around the Christmas period, especially in Europe and the United States. It represents the traditional White Christmas. During this period it is quite popular to make paper snowflakes by folding a piece of paper several times, cutting out a pattern with scissors and then unfolding it.

Three different snowflake symbols are encoded in Unicode: "snowflake" at U+2744 (❄); "tight trifoliate snowflake" at U+2745 (❅); and "heavy chevron snowflake" at U+2746 (❆).
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