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Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:45 pmForum Host
One of the major holidays in Germany is Christmas or Weihnachten. The Christmas celebration is a time for introspection and share with family and friends besides involves customs and many traditions.
The traditional German celebrating begins on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. As part of the tradition the children hang a shoe or boot in the fireplace. During the night, St Nicholas visit house by house, if the children have been good the boots are filling with delicious candies but if they have not been good the boot are filling with twigs.
According to legend, in Germany during Christmas Eve a lot of magic things happen. The rivers turn to wine, the ringing of the church bells can be listened from the depths of the sea, animals speak to each other, tree blossoms are full of fruits and in a magical event the mountains open up and reveal precious gems; but only the pure of heart can be part of this magic.
The most popular Christmas tradition in Germany is the Christmas tree. These trees have a special significance for Germans and also are known like "trees of life". As Germans immigrated to other lands, the custom of Christmas trees was spread. The people buy holiday cookies and marzipan sweets of the bakeries that in this season are well stocked. A variety of toys and other gifts are offered in the outdoor markets. Also the people wish each other "Merry Christmas" or Weihnachten. Little dolls of fruit are traditional Christmas toys. The German Christmas tree pastry, Christbaumgeback, is traditional too; is a white dough that can be molded into shapes and baked for tree decorations.
Before the evening feast, the Christmas tree is presented decorated with candies, cookies, apples, angels, candles, lights and toys. All the presents are placed under the tree and decorated plates full of nuts, marzipans chocolates, biscuits and fruits are prepared for each member of the family.
The sound of the bell announces that everything is ready to share this magical moment with the family. A Christmas story is read, the presents are opened and traditional Carols are sung.
Officially, the German Christmas begins the first Sunday of Advent or Adventszeit. The lights in the exterior decorations of houses, business and the city streets, beautiful gingerbread houses, traditional Christmas cookies, German Christmas pyramids and nativity scenes are signs that Christmas is coming.
In Germany, there are important figures like the angel called Christkind who is a messenger of Christ Child and brings with a basket of toys; other recognized figure is the "Christmas man" called Weihnachtsmann who looks like Santa Claus. Other popular German tradition in Christmas is the Christbaumloben on December 26th, St. Stephen's day, friends visit each other announcing their arrival with the popular phrase "Ein schoener Baum!" or "A nice tree!". They stay a while in the house before moving on to the next house to make the same proclamation.
During Christmas feast dishes such as German Roast Pig (Spannferkel), a sweet cinnamon known like Reisbrei, Makaronsalad - Macaroni Salad, Weisswurst in Beer and other traditional dishes are part on the menu.
For the banquet of the Christmas Day delicious dishes are prepared: plump roast goose, long loaves of bread bursting with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit known like Christstollen, marzipan, "Lebkuchen" and "Dresden Stollen".
For the Christmas season, special dishes are prepared like:
•Weihnachtsplätzchen: Christmas cookies
•Springerle: is a type of German biscuit
•Braune Lebkuchen: are spicy cookies similar to gingerbread
•Stollen: is a type of German Christmas cake, a kind of sweet, fruit-filled dense and moist bread
•Christmas Stollen: are long loaves of bread stuffed with citrus, dried fruit, and nuts.
•Pfefferkuchenhaus: a gingerbread house decorated with candies, sweets and sugar icing
•Marzipankartoffeln: is a circular treat of marzipan.
•Perfect Spiced Roast Goose: the protein of choice for many Christmas feasts
•Weisswurst: sausages with veal and bacon, usually flavored with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger and cardamom
•Baked Sauerkraut With Apples: is a sauerkraut dish
•Warmer Kartoffelsalat (Hot Potato Salad) with Wiener (sausages) is traditionally eaten in northern Germany for lunch on Christmas Eve.
•Schäufele (smoked ham) usually served with potato salad in southern Germany for dinner on Christmas Eve.
The traditional drinks are:
•Gluhwein - German Hot Spiced Wine
•Kinderpunsch: is a non alcoholic beverage made with tea, apple juice, and honey.
•Christmas ale: or winter ale, a robust and full bodied winter ale produced for the Christmas festivities.
•Eierpunsch ~ Egg Punch: a combination of egg yolks, tea and wine mixed with sugar and spices, this festive drink is similar to eggnog and is usually served accompanied by ginger biscuits.
Lyrics to German Christmas Carols
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