Christmas!

Der Erste und Zweite Weihnachtstag

In Germany, there are two days that are legal holidays, the 25th and 26th. Originally Christmas was a celebration of Christ’s birth the church did, but it has become a family holiday in modern Germany. With that said, Weihnachtstag is still a Christian oriented holiday in Germany, especially in the southwest regions.

Advent

The advent is the four-week period leading up to Christmas. For Catholics and Protestants it begins the first Sunday after November 26. Every Sunday during advent a candle is added and lit to the advent wreath and lit. Many families will sing carols and read bible verses. The wreath is a Christian tradition; however, its roots go back to pagan, pre-Christian

Christkind

In some of the more religious part of Germany, such as Nuremberg and other Southwestern Bundesländer (states), children believe the Christkind, young girl with “Christ like” qualities, comes instead of Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas). Young kids in Germany will write to Christkind asking for presents. Once the letter is written, it is placed in the window during or at the beginning of advent.

The Nuremberg Christkind Tradition

Every two years a girl is chosen to be the Christkind. If a girl is a Nuremberg native, 16-19 years old, and 160cm (5’3”), and willing to work in any weather, she is welcome to volunteer for to be the Christkind. Out of all the applicants, only twelve are selected to be represented in the local Nuremberg newspaper for voters to choose the winner. The Christkind is generally active in the community and at least somewhat religious. The 2013 winner was Teresa Treuheit. She is a member of the protestant-Lutheran community St. Laurentias in Nuremberg, she volunteers as her school’s first aid attendant, and she did several internships at the Nuremberg Zoo. Now as the Christkind she must accomplish “duties” such as visit hospitals, old people’s homes, and children nurseries.

Sternsinger (Star Singers)

They will go from house to house, sing Christmas carols at the doors and ask for donations for charity or their church, since it is a mainly a Catholic tradition. Four children from a church will go around, three will dress up like the Three Wise men while the other carries a stick with a star on it to represent the Star of Bethlehem

Christmas Markets (Chriskindelsmarkt) (Weihnachtsmärkte)

Soon after the Advent starts, Chriskindelsmarkt open up in small and large towns across Germany. At these markets, locals will listen to brass music, drink beer or hot mulled wine (Glühwein), and eat food such as gingerbread, sugar roasted almonds, crepes, etc. Wooden toys, hand blown glass, and other festive decorations are sold at these events. Every market has its own characteristics and specialties. For example, the Erzgebirge Mountain Range makes famous hand made wooden crafts and toys. Although each market has its own unique charm, the most famous is the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt. At 375 years old, this market is one of the oldest, and it has over 200 vendors that are known for their golden foil angels and gingerbread cakes.

Sources:

http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/germany.shtml http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/germany.shtml http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/germany.shtml http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/germany.shtml

ger/102/2014/winter/christmas.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/25 21:39 by jvrizzo
 
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