Post Tagged with "Christmas markets"

It’s Christmas in Chicago!

Christmas is celebrated every year on December 25th by Christians around the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the 12 days after in which “Three Wise Men” followed a bright shining star to the site of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem… but is also celebrated by many non-religious people in many places in the United States. Many families will put up a Christmas tree (a fir tree decorated with lights and ornaments); will decorate their houses with lights, fir boughs, and wreaths.

Christmas comes out of a lot of pre-Christian European traditions, specifically Yule, and the main marker of modern Christmas celebrations in the USA is the exchange of gifts. Adults and children alike will receive gifts, and many adults have lists of hundreds of people that they’ll send Christmas greeting cards to.

Daley Plaza's Christmas Tree
Daley Plaza’s Christmas Tree

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December 14, 2010 6 comments

Christkind or Weihnachtsmann? Christmas in Germany

Christmas traditions in Germany vary a lot, depending on the area you live in, and also if this area is predominantly a Catholic or Protestant one.  We even have two entities bringing presents: the Christkind and the traditional Santa or Weihnachtsmann. Most Germans do share one of the following traditions though:

The start of all Christmas-related actvity (especially as it is also the opening day of our world-famous Christmas Markets) is marked by the first Advent-Sunday, four weeks before Christmas. Most families will light the first candle on their Advent wreath, adding a burning candle each week until all four candles are burning on Christmas Eve.

market

(image via)

The first important day for most children is December 6 (Saint Nicholas day), when they have to put their shoes outside the door to have Santa Claus fill the shoes with sweets and little presents. This does depend on if the children have been naughty or nice: nice children will receive the aforementioned sweets, naughty children only get a “Rute“, or rod, to represent the fact that they’d have received a spanking back in the old days.

The one main difference to most European Christmas celebrations is that for Germans Christmas Eve is the most important day. Though no official holiday, most people will finish work around noon, to be home in time to set the tree and prepare the elaborate evening meal. And it is after this dinnner that children will receive their presents, so you can imagine the state they are in come dessert (or even worse, come Papa’s cigarette after dessert).

After the unwrapping and connected commotion most families will settle down for the evening to watch TV or chat under the Christmas tree, though in some areas families will attend late Mass around ten in the evening.

A nice local tradition from the Rhineland is that instead of serving a vast, multi-course meal people will sit down to a helping of sausage and potato salad. After all that hassle you had before the holidays, chasing down presents and preparing the household, Mama does not want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen.

After all the feasting and excitement on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are reserved for visiting relatives and friends (and more eating), and of course to relax and wind down. And to start thinking about the plans for the New Year’s Eve-party.

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr! (Merry Christmas and a happy new year!)

This was the last in our series of Christmas around the world posts.

Read the rest here:
Sunny Christmas: Christmas in New Zealand
Magic Christmas – Christmas in Catalunya
Christmas regained – Christmas in Romania
Windy Christmas – Christmas in Costa Rica
White Christmas – Christmas in the UK

December 24, 2009 2 comments