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Christmas in Germany: traditions and customs. How to celebrate Christmas in Germany

How to celebrate Christmas in Germany? It's noisy, joyful and fun, plunging headlong into the colorful whirl of Christmas fairs and concerts, singing hymns, meeting friends and acquaintances on decorated streets and squares. It is cozy and warm, gathering a large family at a table in the parents' house, on which already roast goose and sweet shtollen are waiting. With a special impatience, the children are waiting for the Christmas holiday, with enthusiasm unfolding in the morning found gifts under the elegant Christmas tree from Santa Claus. Let's also feel the magic atmosphere of the German Christmas ...

Religious component of the holiday

On the night of 24 to 25 December, Catholic Christians around the world celebrate Christmas. In Germany, this date, in accordance with the ancient tradition, is the culmination of a long period of preparation for the holiday, which begins in November.

Prepare for Christmas Germans are taken in four weeks. Catholics this period is called "Advent". It includes the days of confession, repentance, communion (for comparison: the Orthodox Christmas is preceded by a forty-day fast).

At Christmas midnight in the Catholic churches begins a solemn service. Two more divine services are performed in the morning, at the very dawn, and in the afternoon. They symbolize the Nativity of Christ in the womb of God the Father, in the womb of the Mother of God and in the soul of every Christian.

In the morning on the next day, the whole family is supposed to gather at the festive table, rejoicing at the birth of the Savior.

Christmas in Germany: traditions and customs of preparing for the holiday

Waiting for the holiday, according to the inhabitants of Germany, is no less exciting and beautiful than Christmas itself. During the Advent period, the Germans decorate trees and houses with toys and luminous garlands. On the streets, in the shop windows and in the courtyards there are colorful "dens" - mock-ups of the cave where the baby Jesus was born, with the figures of the main characters of the Biblical legend. The doors of the houses are decorated with wreaths with candles, intertwined with bright ribbons, and on windows and windowsills, wooden figures are placed and hung out, carefully transferred to families from generation to generation.

In a prominent place in each house is a tree, dressed up with glass toys, balls and candles - without this tree with the Bethlehem star at the top it is difficult to imagine Christmas in Germany. Traditions and customs also prescribe to decorate the premises with miniature houses with illumination, figurines and green trees.

In houses where there is a fireplace, beside it necessarily hanging special socks, in which at night Santa Claus will have to secretly arrange gifts. Also on Catholic Christmas in Germany, huge, colorful calendars with sweets or souvenirs for each of the days that remain before the holiday are very popular.

Christmas cucumber and carrot

Small glass Christmas toys - cucumber and carrots - entertaining symbols of Christmas in Germany, popular in some of its lands.

Cucumber adults hang on the fir tree in the last turn, but not in sight, but, on the contrary, hiding. On Christmas morning the children race to search for him. The one who finds the toy is awarded an additional gift.

As for carrots, this decoration is usually given to the bride. Occupying a place on a tree, a glass vegetable symbolizes fertility and well-being in a young family.

Christmas markets

The season of famous pre-Christmas sales Germans proudly called "the fifth season." That's when they start celebrating Christmas in Germany. The date - the eleventh day of the eleventh month - is complemented by mystical time - eleven hours and eleven minutes. At this moment, the famous Christmas markets are solemnly opened, according to the number of which Germany overtakes all other states of Europe.

The invariable attributes of the German Christmas markets since the Middle Ages are carousels, various fun contests and attractions, as well as roasted chestnuts and fragrant mulled wine, chocolate and tasty honey gingerbread ... At these fairs mostly inexpensive but original and artfully crafted handicrafts of local artisans dedicated to the holiday are sold .

In the festivities on the Christmas days, everyone is involved, from small to large. Tourists at this time Germans are also very happy, so the best way to learn how to celebrate Christmas in Germany is to go there in November or December to see everything with your own eyes.

Christmas in different regions of Germany

A long historical period of fragmentation could not but affect how it is customary to celebrate Christmas in Germany. Traditions and customs of different regions of the country do not resemble each other, since they have ancient roots and formed separately.

So, in the seaside German cities on a Christmas morning a ship with Father Frost on board arrives at the port (in Germany, his name is Vainakhtsman). Going down from the ladder, Christmas grandfather congratulates the adults and children who meet him with the coming holiday and presents gifts that he brought in abundance.

In the eastern part of Germany, a region of dense forests and Ore Mountains, the tradition is different. At the Christmas market are sold figurines of smoking people, wooden candlesticks and original festive pyramids. On city streets people are having fun, many of them are wearing national costumes.

In Thuringia - in the homeland of the first Christmas balls of glass - the fair is full of various products and souvenirs made of this material.

In the southern part of Germany, the main symbol of Christmas is a wooden nursery, reminiscent of the birth of the baby Jesus Christ.

At concerts in the cities of Bavaria, the alpine chorus sings. Brass bands perform national music with trombone and alpine horn - traditional instruments that can be heard exactly when they celebrate Christmas in Germany.

Traditions and customs of the western regions of the country on this holiday resemble the tales of the Brothers Grimm, who were from here. The road of fairy tales passes through several cities, constantly reminding the traveler of famous stories.

Christmas table

On the eve of the holiday - Christmas Eve, or Holy Evening - the whole family gathers behind a richly decorated and decorated table. According to custom, on this day the best dishes and appliances are put on it, and the menu consists of not less than seven dishes.

Before embarking on a festive meal, it is customary to break the wafers - thin fresh cakes, consecrated in the temples during the Advent period. Breaking off pieces of wafers, the Germans congratulate each other on Christmas and wish all the best.

In the center of the festive table, according to custom, there is a flock of stuffed goose (less often - turkey), surrounded by various salads and snacks. Traditional dishes for Christmas in Germany - sauerkraut, seafood and bean soup, symbolizing prosperity. For dessert, it is customary to serve Christmas shtollen - a sweet roll with raisins and nuts, covered with icing and powdered sugar.

Cookies with predictions - Christmas symbols in Germany

An interesting tradition of German housewives is baking on the eve of Christmas special cookies. It has the form of a horseshoe, inside which is put a strip of paper with a written prediction for the one who will get a treat. Predictions can be any, both serious and joking, but most importantly - by all means good, to become for the relatives and guests visiting the house these days, another reason for joy.

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