The Christmas in Germany does not restrict to only 25th Dec. It spans from about last week of November up to 6th January next year. During this period, lots of interesting Christmas traditions in Germany make this festival unique.
At the beginning of December, German kids get a box like Advents calendar. It has 24 small compartments with doors. Kids open one door each day for a surprise treat inside. There can be chocolate or small toy etc.
Advents wreath – This is also a major part of Advents period. The wreath is a circular decorative arrangement of 4 candles. On each Sunday (starting from 4th before Christmas), one candle is light up and the family spends the day together while singing traditional songs, enjoying food or watching a movie etc.
Check this link to buy one such calendar.
St Nicolas looks like popular Santa Clause but he comes on 6th December and unlike Santa, he comes face to face children. He brings with him a bag full of nuts, fruits, chocolates etc and one stick also. He gives treats to wise kids and a punishment to bad kids. Sometimes he is accompanied by a man in black clothes named Knecht Ruprecht. He punishes the bad children.
Christmas markets are an important tradition of German Christmas celebration which turns dull grey winter days into the festival buzz. These markets have typical wooden hut-like shops selling decoration stuff, fleece and leather items, traditional foods and wine specialties etc. Each city has some specialty in their markets. Christmas markets from Nuremberg are especially popular for their medieval style.
This tradition is said to be started in the UK and then adopted by many Christian countries. This is a day for giving away gift ‘boxes’ to someone in need, poor, servants etc. In Germany, this boxing day – 26th December – is an official holiday and is known as ‘second Christmas holiday’. People spend this day mostly at home with families. There are not many rituals on this day. This is a comparatively calm and relaxed day.
Epiphany is also known as ‘Three king’s fest’. On this day, boys dress like three kings and sing traditional songs. People write three letters- C,M,B on their doors with the year like this – for the year 2017 = 20 C+B+M 17. The origin of these letters has 2 opinions. According to one belief, these letters represent 3 German kings namely – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. According to another story, these letters have a meaning – Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means – Christ bless this house. After this day, the Christmas decoration and the Christmas tree is removed.
Which of these traditions was most fascinating for you? Let me know below in the comments.
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