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Popular German Christmas traditions and their meanings that you should definitely know about


Popular German Christmas traditions and their meanings that you should definitely know about
Frohe Weihnachten!

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.
Traditionally in Germany, the tree is not put up until 24 December.

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.


7. Stollen

 fruit bread, made with nuts, spices, candied fruit and icing sugar
Fruit bread with nuts, spices, candied fruit & icing sugar

One of the best German Christmas traditions - not to mention the most delicious - is the Stollen; LIDL has an especially delicious Stollen!

The fruit bread, made with nuts, spices, candied fruit and icing sugar, is enjoyed throughout the Christmas season.

In Germany, it's known as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen, but this famous festive cake has made its way around the world - and, unsurprisingly, is popular with everyone.


8. Sternsinger (carol singers)

As carol singers, young children dress up as the Magi and visit homes in their neighbourhood with a star on a pole, they often sing songs to spread good cheer. Often, the carol singers also collect money for a good cause. They spread Christmas cheer and collect for people who need help.


9. Lebkuchen (gingerbread)

Lebkuchen, also known as Pfefferkuchen, is a delicious German cake sweetened with honey and with a delicious, sugary top. They date back to the 14th century when they were used by Catholic monks and can be found at Christmas markets, supermarkets and bakeries across the country. They go perfectly with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Lebkuchen, also known as Pfefferkuchen, is a delicious German cake sweetened with honey and with a delicious, sugary top.
Lebkuchen, also known as Pfefferkuchen, is a delicious German cake sweetened with honey and with a delicious, sugary top.

10. Christmas Day is called "First Holiday".

In contrast to the Irish Christmas Day, Germans know 25 December as "Ersten Feiertag", which means "First Holiday". Although the presents are already opened on Christmas Eve, 25 December is still a day for families to get together, for good food and for people to enjoy their well-deserved break from work.




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