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Christmas in Germany

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Rick Velasquez

on 21 December 2012

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Transcript of Christmas in Germany

Christmas in Germany In 2011, the population of Germany was about 81,726,000 and the country had a good 62% who were Christians. Christmas preparations often begin on the eve of December 6th, which is St. Nicholas Day. People often set aside special evenings for baking spiced cakes and cookies, and making gifts and decorations. Little dolls of fruit are traditional Christmas toys. In Germany, December 6 is an important day for children. On the evening before the 6th, they place a boot or shoe outside their bedroom doors, hoping that St. Nicholas will fill it with presents. The shoes have to be very clean, so they are carefully polished the evening before! Only good children get a present! During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. For naughty children, St. Nicholas has his helper, Knecht Ruprecht, who is a total opposite of him. Ruprecht puts a bunch of dry branches in a bad child's shoe. In parts of Germany, people believe that the Christ Child sends a messenger in Christmas Eve. He appears as an angel in a white robe and crown, bearing gifts. The angel is called Christkind. There is also a Christmas Eve figure called Weihnachtsmann or Christmas Man, he looks like Santa Claus and also brings gifts. In Germany, Christmas decorations are a lot less bright and are often made of traditional materials like wood, glass or straw. Stars made out of straw go back to times when people couldn't afford decorations at Christmas. Straw was not only cheap, it is also easy to bend and cut. For many, the straw decorations are a reminder of the baby Jesus, lying in his straw-filled crib in Bethlehem. Nuts are a popular nibble in Germany around Christmas and a good reason for why many families have a nutcracker. Standing at around 30cm high, these nutcrackers are an old German tradition. Shaped like soldiers or watchmen, they originate from the Ore Mountains in southern Germany, a region well known for its able craftsmen and skilled woodcutters. The first nutcrackers were made back in the 19th century by carpenters who found themselves nothing to do the winter months. Since then, the tradition has been passed from family to family and the style and look of these wooden soldiers has hardly changed. Some homes in Germany have several Christmas trees, and in all towns across Germany, they can be seen glittering and glowing. In Germany they hang up advent wreaths with four red candles in the center. They light one candle each Sunday and last on Christmas Eve. Children count the days until Christmas using an Advent calendar. In some homes a room is locked up before Christmas. On Christmas Eve the children go to bed but are woken up at midnight by their parents and taken down to the locked room. The door is opened and they see the tree all lit up, with piles of packages on little tables. Stille Nacht (Silent Night) Silent night is a popular Christmas carol in Germany. On Christmas Eve, people will be singing it all over the country. Did you know it was originally written in German? Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht was written by the Austrian Joseph Mohr back in 1816. Traditional Foods During Christmas feast dishes such as duckling pig, a sweet cinnamon known as reisbrei, macaroni salad, white sausage and other traditional dishes are part on the menu. New Years New Years in Germany is also celebrated on Jan 1, although it is called Nuejahr. A very popular tradition of telling future was called Bleigiessen. They would drop molten lead into cold water and predict future of people from whatever shape it created. If it took the shape of a heart or ring it meant wedding, shape of ship meant journey and a pig symbolized plenty of food in the coming year. Another tradition was leaving bits of every food on New Year's Eve until after midnight because it would guarantee a lot of food for the upcoming year.

New Year's Eve is celebrated with joy and passion by the people of Germany. People are in a full mood to enjoy and party hard. New Year's celebration begins with the New Year's Eve. Silvester is the New Year's Eve in Germany. New Year's Eve is a noisy event. These celebrations are all about dancing, singing, drinking and having an over-the-top meal. People like to spend time with their dear ones. Party places and restaurants are overcrowded with people. The huge New Year bash of Brandenburger Tor in Berlin is famous worldwide.

As soon as clock strikes 12 at night, people are seen hugging, kissing and wishing each other "Gutes Nue Jahr" or "Happy New Year". Bells of churches start ringing loudly. Champagne and wine flow lavishly and fireworks light up the sky. Therefore, New Years is welcomed in a merry way by the people of Germany. For the banquet of the Christmas Day delicious dishes are prepared like plump roast goose, long loaves of bread bursting with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit known like Christstollen, marzipan, "Lebkuchen" and "Dresden Stollen". They also have traditional drinks like Glühwein and Kinderpunsch. Christollen: long loaves of bread stuffed with citrus, dried fruit, and nuts.

Lebkuchen: are spicy cookies similar to gingerbread cookies

Dresden Stollen: delicious sweet bread

Glühwein: spiced wine

Kinderpunsch: beverage made with tea, apple juice, and honey. Christollen THE END.
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