Hi! I’m Erica Da Venezia [4E] and I’ve decided to live in Germany for a whole year. I’ve been here in Munich for three months. This town is wonderful, green and lively. The Oktoberfest, so many cultural opportunities, all its parks… Now the Marienplatz is flooded by Christmas stalls and a big and impressive Christmas tree sits enthroned over everything. I would like to describe to you how the Advent is celebrated in Munich and generally in Germany!
The Christmas atmosphere already starts at the beginning of December, with the Advent’s calendar. It is very important. Children open a small door every morning! Sometimes parents make the calendar themselves and fill it with candy or other little surprises! An Advent wreath is in every family and every Advent Sunday an additional candle is lit! The first candle represents the first Sunday in Advent!
St. Nikolaus comes on December 6th, originally a Bishop, but he is often represented like Santa Claus. In any case in the night this big and good man brings little presents to the good children in a big bag, which he lets outside in front of the door. It is a tradition that children clean and put their shoes outside the door in the evening of the 5th , then, in the morning they are full of tangerines, nuts or chocolates.
St. Nikolaus’ companion is Knecht Ruprecht. The difference is that the bishop brings gifts only for the well-behaved children while Knecht Ruprecht brings coal to the kids who misbehaved.
Another feature of German Advent are the Christmas markets called “Christkindlmärkte”. Each town has one, the best known are in Munich, Dresden and Nuremberg. There you can find perfect Christmas presents and eat typical Christmas time food like Lebkuchen, Plätzchen and Stollen, or drink “Glühwein”, our Vin Brulé. Glühwein and hot chocolate help against the cold.
The Christmas tree is decorated by the whole family a couple of days before Christmas Eve. And in the evening of December 24th parents put the presents under the tree. Then the presents are unpacked in the evening (the gifts are brought by the Christkind in the southern part of Germany and by Santa Claus in the northern part). After that the family goes to the Christmas Mass late in the evening.
Best regard! I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Germany!!!