Christmas is indeed a time for the Germans to rejoice togetherness and enthusiasm. The task of preparations for the remarkable festival begins well before December arrives. Be it discussions on food, baking cakes, deciding decorations or gifts-they are thought over way in-advance and organized accordingly. As per the German legend, December 6th (also called St. Nicholas day) is when St. Nicholas visit the children to give them gifts, based on their deeds. Children, enthusiastic as they are about their gifts, put their shoes outside the previous night to know the verdict. It is said that kids who have been good throughout the year are given gifts, whereas the naughty ones are given twigs. The season starts off from the 24th of December and the celebrations continue through 25th and 26th December. Most German houses can be found decorated with twinkling lights to welcome the holiday season. Read on to know more about Christmas in Germany.
German Christmas Customs
Exquisite Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree in Germany, like most other nations, has a great deal of importance attached to it. One cannot imagine a German Christmas without a beautifully decorated fir tree. Considering that the Christmas tree originated in Germany, this is quite obvious. However, owing to a mythical curse on the Christmas-tree, the young ones are kept away from the trees on the Christmas Eve. Once it's done, children rush to the tree to find their gifts placed by Santa. The trees are grown in public areas before Christmas. People are ready with their Christmas trees by December 23rd.
The lavish feast on the eve of Christmas includes delicious suckling pig, white sausages, macaroni salad, sweet cinnamon and many regional dishes. Considering that a German saying suggests that people who do not eat properly will be haunted by the demons at night, it is easy to ascertain the Germans fill themselves up to the brim on this feast. The trend of heavy feasts continues all the way to the Christmas day when various delightful traditional dishes like the plump roast goose, long bread loaves stuffed with nuts and raisins are served. A boar's head is served at most of the feasts as a sacrifice to the German God Frey, who takes care of the well-being of the livestock. However, later on, as the boar was difficult to find, and it took a week's time to cook, it was replaced by pork, turkey and goose.
Much Awaited Christmas Markets
Christmas markets are looked forward to by people for decorations of the tree, candles, presents and everything that people require for the fiesta. Music fills the air in the market and greets shoppers. Stalls are set up for fried sausages and roasted chestnuts. Almost every town has a market and the Mayor of the respective town inaugurates the Christmas market by turning on the lights of an enormous Christmas tree. Trees are placed in easily-accessible open areas where families can take their time to look at everything. The fabulously decorated streets spread the warmth of Christmas all over.
Candles And Music
It is a tradition that when four Sundays remain for the grand festival, a wreath made of holly flowers with four red candles is placed on the table. Each one of the four candles is lit on the Sundays preceding Christmas. Though it's difficult to find snow here, there are possibilities of finding it in regions situated at a higher altitude.
Christmas in Germany, thus, is a festival that paves the way for family togetherness, joy, an engulfing feast and religious beliefs to add color to life.
Read about Christmas and its traditions in Germany and German Christmas customs.