is coming, bright and sparkling, and next features will make up
a collection of festive stories. In Part One we will get acquainted
with German Christmas traditions and customs, history of Christmas
tree, traditional German Christmas markets, Advent - Christmas calendar
that originated from Germany, and Christ Child - the one who puts
Christmas gifts under German Christmas trees.
or as the Germans
call it -
is a quiet
time in Germany. People are in a thoughtful mood. Town streets and
business offices are decorated with Christmas lights and branches
of pine-needle and fir-needle trees. Everything appears in red and
dark green - the colors of "Weihnachten" in Germany. Houses
are usually scarcely decorated. You might see some lights in a window,
or figures painted on windows with snow spray, but usually nothing
too fancy. Christmas
is the most cheerful and important season of the year. The main
night is Christmas Eve which takes place on December 24th. Families
get together for a rich holiday dinner
and to wait for Santa ("Weihnachtsmann") who brings the
presents that night. Basically families exchange their gifts on
the night of the 24th. Two more Christmas holidays follow, the 25th
and the 2nd Christmas Day, the 26th of December.
Christmas is extremely popular worldwide. It is one of the most
powerful and certainly oldest traditions in human history. Holiday
celebrations in Germany start in earnest with the beginning of Advent.
On that day children get to open the first of the 24 doors of their
The most miraculous children's holiday in German-speaking countries
is St. Nikolaus Eve, celebrated on December 6. This is the day when
all obedient children get presents, mostly sweets, from St. Nikolaus,
whose custom is to put them into the shoes, providently set outside
the bedroom door.
Germany (and most other countries) celebrates Christmas on December
24, the Holy Night. Shops are open much of the day and celebrations
do not start before the afternoon. The children have to leave the
room until the Christmas bell rings. At that point they will either
find their presents under the tree, or Father
Christmas himself will pay a visit. Dinner is served after presents
have been unwrapped, and many families conclude the evening by attending
a midnight Christmas Mass. The 25th and 26th are official holidays,
mostly spent with family and friends.