Nicholas Eve. St Nicholas Day. Kupferner Sonntag.
Silberner Sonntag. Goldener Sonntag. First Christmas Day. Erster Weihnachtstag. Second Christmas Day. Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag. New Year's Eve. New Year's Day. Advent in Germany: Lighting candles and singing songs. Germany observes advent adventszeit , a western Christian season that anticipates the coming of Christ.
Advent Sunday marks the beginning of advent and the liturgical year, and lies on the Sunday closest to 30 th November. The season ends on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, families will mark the beginning of advent by lighting the first candle on their advent wreath adventskranz and singing festive songs together like the one below.
Christmas in Germany
An additional candle is lit on each Sunday in advent to symbolise the passing of the season. Erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier. First one, then two, then three, then four,. German children's adventskalender tend to count down from 1 st December rather than the first Sunday in advent. Just like British advent calendars, each of the 24 days bears a chocolate treat, small toy or Christmassy image. A cherry branch is placed in a vase of water, the idea being that it will blossom on Christmas Day and bring good luck for the following year.
It is said that tending to a cherry branch kept St Barbara's spirits up while she was imprisoned.
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On the night of 5th December, Nikolaus St Nicholas goes from house to house leaving small treats for good children. Youngsters put a polished Nikolaus-Stiefel Nicholas boot out when they go to bed, hoping to find it stuffed with gifts and treats the next morning, on Nikolaustag St Nicholas Day. Nikolaus is a bishop with a long, white beard who is usually depicted wearing a red mitre, red cloak and white alb.
He also carries a golden staff, and rides a white horse. In Bavarian folklore, Nikolaus is accompanied by a threatening character called Knecht Ruprecht Servant Rupert , who leaves bundles of twigs in the boots of misbehaved children.
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He is usually depicted with a brown robe and dark beard. Germans refer to 25th and 26th December as der erste und zweite Weihnachtstag: the first and second Christmas Day. Both are public holidays across states, so that everyone can spend time at home with their families. The gift exchange occurs on Christmas Eve, so the first and second Christmas Day are reserved for eating and relaxing with family.
When the clock strikes midnight, church bells ring, bottles of sekt German sparkling wine are uncorked, and loved ones wish each other a Prosit Neujahr! Fireworks are a hugely popular way to celebrate. As stores cannot sell them outside 27th —31st December, and it's illegal to light them on any dates except New Year's Eve and Day, Germans really make the most of their opportunity to light up the skies. Rieser — Licence. The resulting shape of the hardened lead is said to determine your fortune for the coming year.
Other popular Silvester foods include carp, herring, and lentil soup. Strangely, families will also gather to watch English-language TV comedy Dinner for One on the last day of the year. A line from the sketch show, "Same procedure as every year", is a commonly heard catchphrase in Germany. Another popular televised event is the Chancellor's New Year speech Neujahrsansprache.
One thing you cannot do on New Year's Eve is hang out your washing, as it's thought the Germanic god Wotan aka Odin will get tangled on the clothesline and curse you with bad luck. New Year's Day Neujahrstag is a public holiday in Germany, and a time to relax with your loved ones.
It is traditional for groups of children known as sternsinger to go singing door-to-door. CMB stands for Christus mansionem benedicat God protect this house. While Santa Claus is obviously one of the most iconic Christmas figures, leave it to the Europeans to commemorate the depth and origins of old Kris Kringle. The customs observed on St. Nicholas Day is often regarded as the source of modern-day Christmas lore about Santa.
Each year on December 5th, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, children leave their shoes outside of their bedroom doors in hopes that he will visit and leave the shoes filled with treats in his wake. Of course, only those children who were nice all year-round are lucky enough to have this fortune. Starting to sound familiar? We all might be familiar with Santa, but leave it to the Germans to invent a stark and terrifying counterpart for punishing the naughty ones.
13 Best German Christmas Markets
Krampus , typically believed to have been derived from pagan lore, is a demonic anthropomorphic goat with a forked tongue who is known to run around beating and even eating children who did not behave. All of this has typically been omitted from common Christmas traditions, but in case you were wondering where the whole getting coal for being naughty thing comes from, Krampus is to thank.
Today, in southern Germany, Krampuslaufe still go down, where grown men dress in terrifying renditions of the creature and parade through the town. Last but not least, Cologne, the city that gave birth to the delicious mulled wine, invites its winter tourists into a magical land of Christmas markets. Thanks for this post. I just moved to Berlin and experienced my first Christmas Market ever today. Looking forward to see some first-hand impressions on your blog.
I personally love the Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt. Esslingen, thought a smaller town, is also lovely- medieval-themed. A German Christmas is like nothing else- no one does it better! Not the tourism but the look of the town on a cold snowy December day…..
10 Best Christmas Markets in Germany - German Cities to Visit In Winter
You discovered Duesseldorf? Maybe you could cover some markets that are located outside the big german cities for example in castles. But however: Very good and interesting post. I loved to see Duesseldorf in a blog.
It was just gridlock and too crowded! Dresden top the list! Love the ambiance, love the path that brings you to the shore of Elbe. Amongst the best Gluhwein, we had all over Germany and Austria. Have had many great Christmas times in Berlin, but last year I visited Hamburg and I fell in love with that city and its atmosphere.
Great blog! From 23 November to 30 December there will be around stalls with craftwork, Christmas decoration, extraordinary toys and a lot more — almost anything that makes your heart beat faster in the Advent season. The highlight is the big Tree!