Popular German Christmas traditions and their meanings that you should know if you are a fan of Germany or learning German - here is GermanMinds Top 10!
From hand-carved wooden nutcrackers to delicious stollen, there are many German Christmas traditions that have been around for centuries. But what is their significance? German traditions encompass a wide range of customs and rituals associated with Christmas. Whether or not you are celebrating Christmas in Deutschland this year, these famous German traditions are interesting and worth knowing. Grab a cup of mulled wine, here we go!
1. Der Adventskalender (Advent calendar)
Did you know that while Advent calendars are sold in most countries, this tradition originated in Germany? First used by German Lutherans in the 19th and 20th centuries, many families began marking the days before Christmas by lighting a candle or marking walls or doors with a chalk line. The tradition has changed a little, of course, with chocolate advent calendars and sustainable do-it-yourself advent calendars available in shops today.
2. Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is a jam-packed day of festivities for Germans. Traditionally, many households spend the day decorating the tree, preparing food for the family and sprucing up the house. Once night falls, households gather around the tree.
The Christ Child brings the presents as the children wait outside the room. A bell is rung for the children to enter the room, where the family then sings Christmas carols before the gift-giving begins. Some families then attend the Christmas Eve service at their church, while others indulge in delicious food.
3. The Christmas tree is decorated last
This may come as a bit of a shock to many, but traditionally in Germany, the tree is not put up until 24 December. Even though this is done differently from family to family today, many of the older generation decorate the house already on the morning of Christmas Eve. The rest of the house is decorated beforehand, only the tree is saved until the end.
4. Putting an Advent wreath on the table
Advent wreaths are a wonderfully typical German tradition, started by the German Lutherans in the 16th century. Usually, the wreath consists of four candles in a bed of pine cones, berries, dried flowers and various festive ornaments. In most households, the wreath is put up at the beginning of December and a candle is lit every Sunday (advent Sunday) during the month.
5. Christmas markets
German Christmas markets are probably known and loved all over the world; although the magic of German Christmas markets has now spread around the world, it is a tradition that originated in Germany. Did you know that?
It is believed that the origins of Christmas markets date back to the German-speaking part of Europe in the Middle Ages.
There really is nothing better than ice skating followed by mulled wine and a Bratwurst at one of the best markets in Germany....
6. Christmas Angel
If you enter a German home at Christmas time, you will find an abundance of Christmas angels. Angels are one of the most popular decorations and are either hung on the tree or spread out as decorations on tables and shelves. In some families, they are passed down from generation to generation and have special meanings such as hope, joy, love, togetherness and peace.
One of the best German Christmas traditions - not to mention the most delicious - is the Stollen; LIDL has an especially de