German is spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg. In German, Merry Christmas is said “Fröhliche Weihnachten” (pronounced fur-lich-uh v-eye-nach-ten)
The German people celebrate St Nick’s Day (Sankt Nikolaustag) on December 6 th and Christmas (Weihnachten) December 24th-26th. Their Christmas season ends on January 6 th . January 6 th is known as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
The very first Christmas trees were decorated in Germany. The Germans think of the Christmas tree as their symbol of Christmas.
Legend says that the German people believed that evergreens and light kept away bad spirits. So every year for the 12 days of Christmas, the German people put candles on an evergreen tree to keep away harm.
Another legend says that a German preacher named Martin Luther was walking in the forest one night and thought that the stars shining on the trees were beautiful. So he cut down the tree and covered it in candles to show the beauty of the stars on the trees.
The people of Germany celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6 th .
St. Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus)wears a long robe and a pointed hat. He carries a cane and has a long white beard. He is known to be the Saint of Children.
On December 5 th , German children leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas. When they awake on December 6 th , their shoes are filled with toys and treats.
In some areas, St. Nick travels with a companion who is along to scare kids into being well- behaved. In some areas, he’s called Krampus. In others, he’s called Belsnickel.
Many Germans celebrate the Christmas season at the Christmas markets. People can shop for toys, food, and decorations. While shopping, Germans can enjoy listening to Christmas music and watching plays and puppet shows.
Christmas Eve *Highlight of a German Christmas *The tree is decorated with straw stars, foil and glass decorations, apples, gilded nuts, ring biscuits, Lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread), chocolate or marzipan decorations, wooden angels, pine cones, tinsel, and wax candles or electric lights. *Presents are placed either under the tree, with the crib if there is one, or else on the "present table" (der Gabentisch). *When everything is prepared, normally just after dark, a little bell is rung as a signal that the children may come in to see the lighted tree and receive their presents (die Bescherung). *Before the exchange of gifts takes place, the Christmas story is often read by the light of the candles and favorite Christmas carols are sung. *Since the Middle Ages carp has been a traditional food for the evening meal on Christmas Eve. However, all kinds of food are eaten nowadays on Christmas Eve evening. Depending on whether the family is Roman Catholic or Protestant they will probably go to church at midnight or in the late afternoon. The rest of the evening is enjoyed as a family get-together, with the children playing with new toys, and all partaking of the Christmas goodies.
Christmas Day December 25th is known as the "First Day of Christmas" (der erste Weihnachtstag) and, in comparison with the 24th of December, is a quiet day, often spent either visiting relatives or else being visited by them. Goose is still widely eaten for the main meal. December 26th, the "Second Day of Christmas“ (der zweite Weihnachtstag) also known as St. Stephen’s Day, has much the same function as the day before, being another public holiday and a day of family reunions or outings.
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