Christmas is the most special time of year in Germany. As you know, the key ingredients of a truly magical Christmas are festive cheer, family time, and delicious food. However, each country has its own unique traditions for celebrating the holiday. Here are some Christmas traditions which are unique to Germany.
1. St Nicholas Day:
On the night of December 5, German children clean and polish their boots and leave them outside the door before they go to sleep. Next morning, the children find their shoes filled with nuts, candy, and small gifts from St Nicholas. St Nicholas is the German equivalent of his American counterpart Santa Claus.
2. Mulled wine:
Christmas season in Germany is often celebrated with mugs of steaming hot mulled wine. Mulled wine is sold in ceramic mugs in all Christmas markets in Germany and is considered key in beating the winter chill and adding to the festive cheer.
3. Christmas markets:
It’s said that the origins of the Christmas markets can be traced back to the German-speaking part of Europe in the Middle Ages. Thousands of Christmas markets are held over Germany each year.
4. Advent calendar:
Advent calendar is an important countdown to Christmas for German children. Every day for four weeks before Christmas, a window in the advent calendar is opened to reveal a poem, short story, candy, or small gift.
5. Advent wreath:
The tradition of Advent wreaths started with German Lutherans in the 16th century. The wreath is still an icon of Christmas in Germany. The wreath usually consists of four candles and pinecones, berries, dried flowers, and Christmas ornaments. Some Germans will bring the wreath out during the first week of December and burn one candle every Sunday in the lead up to Christmas.
Frohe Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas)