How much do you know about the German Christmas? Certainly, Japanese love the “Weihnachtsmarkt”, the German Christmas market, and there was a German Christmas market in Osaka. But movies normally show the American or the English Christmas. Some parts a similar, but every country in Europe has its own special way to celebrate the big festival. So, I would like to introduce you to the Christmas of my home country, Germany. In this part, I will introduce the Advent season.
About Advent, the preparing time of the German Christmas
First, I would like to start with the “Advent” (アドベント). It is the preparation time for the German Christmas. It starts on the forth Sunday before Christmas Day. This year, in 2023, it was on the third of December. With the start of the Advent, people put up the Christmas decoration, many Christmas markets open and there are many Christmas events everywhere. Children get an “Adventskalender”(アドベントカレンダー), which has become quite popular in Japan in recent years, too. Starting on the first of December, they can open every morning a little door and get a delicious piece of chocolate. It makes everybody start the day happily!
Christmas decoration in Germany
For decoration in the German Christmas, we use similar decoration to other countries. We decorate twigs of evergreens in Christmas colors like red and golden. We put lights into the windows and some decoration on the outside of our homes, so the neighbors can enjoy the Christmas mood, too. Germans love to use candles and light in the Christmas season. But be sure to light the candle only while you are in the room!
The Advent wreath
The main part of the decoration for German Christmas at home the the Advent wreath “Adventskranz” (アドベントくランス). We make it for the Advent from evergreen twigs, decorate it and put four candles on it. Most families keep it on the living room table. On the first Advent, we light one candle. On the second, we light two candles, on the third, four candles burn and on the fourth Advent, all candles give us their comfortable light. Then everybody knows that Christmas is very soon. By the way, we do not put up the Christmas tree till Christmas Eve.
Things to do in the Advent season
Another thing Germans do to enjoy the German Christmas during the Advent is baking and eating Christmas cookies (and chocolate) for tea time to the light of the Advent wreath. I still lively remember the time I spend with my mother baking all kind of different cookies for the Christmas time. Most families bake up to ten different types of cookies at the beginning of the Advent! They are readily exchanged with neighbors, family and friends. The cookies at the German Christmas are more important the for example the “Stollen”(シュトーレン) the German Christmas cake which has recently become popular in Japan, too. It is the part I miss most here in Japan.
Christmas markets and shopping for presents
And finally, there is the Christmas shopping. Like in most European countries, German Christmas is a time to exchange presents! From parents to children, from children to the parents, between brothers and sisters, to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces nephews and so on, between friends and colleagues – getting all the presents right is a difficult task and it needs careful planning. Luckily, we can take a break from all the shopping on the famous Christmas markets. There we drink mulled wine, eat special all favorite Christmas treats as well as one time popular foods that come up in every season and can do some shopping at one of the many stands as well. The Christmas markets are probably the most interesting part of the Christmas season for visitors!
Another blog about Advent.