On March 8, 2010 my mother died. She was German.Little did I know when I was growing up in Scotland how many German Christmastraditions she brought with her to her new adopted country.
Advent In Germany, the Christmas season starts four Sundays before Christmas. As children, we went out for a walk and collected fir branches. My mother made and decorated the Adventskranz. It sat on our dining table. EachSunday at dinner another candle would be lit until finally all four were lit theSunday before Christmas. After lighting the candles, we would sing German Christmas carols. My great-aunt Lieschen taught them to us. I didnt understand a word but I still remember most of the tunes. Der Adventskranz hat vier rote Kerzen. Jede Woche wird eine neue Kerze angezuendet.
On the evening of December 5, our house was a shoe-polishing workshop! All the shoes were polished. I suspect my parents made the most of this!!!! St Nicolaus would not be impressed and we would not be left any goodies if the shoes were not gleaming. A pair of nicely polished shoes would be left outside our bedroom door. On December 6 when we woke up the shoes would be filled with nuts and fruit. My Scottish school friends were jealous. Nothing for them until Christmas Day. “Am 6. Dezember feiert man in Deutschland den Nikolaustag. Kinder stellen ihre Schuhe vor die Türe. Sie möchten, daß der Nikolaus sie mit Nüsse und Obst füllt. Nikolaus wird von einem Helfer begleitet, dem Knecht Ruprecht. Er hat eine Rute für die bösen Kinderund einen Sack voller kleiner Geschenke für die lieben Kinder. Aus einem großen Buch liest er ihnen vor, was sie für gute und böse Dinge getan haben, und er verteilt kleineGeschenke. Meistens aber bekommt jeder etwas.” http://www.derweg.org/mwbrauch/weihnach.htm
Der Weihnachtsmarkt ~ in Deutschland ~ und~ in meine neue Heimat, Kanada ~
During Advent the historic cores of most major German cities and many smaller towns light up with holiday decorations.The Christmas market tradition (Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt) dates back to the 15th century.The market is usually located on the citys central square and commonly features a nativity scene; bigger cities might have a stage for traditional musicians and dancers. You will find handcrafted gifts and Christmas decorations. Your olifactory senses will be tempted by a mouthwatering array of grilledsausages (Bockwurst oder Wuertschen) and meats, fried fish filets on a fresh bread rolls (Backfisch) and a great variety of specialty sweets, confections and baked goods. Christmas markets are a treat for all the senses - beautiful to behold,delicious scents wafting through the air and a feast for the taste buds.
I did not experience a Christmas market as a child. BUT Here I am in the Kootenays, with a growing resident German-speaking population And just look at what we have!!!
German customs have followed me!In 2010, my children, who have never been to Germany, and I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Christmas Market. In the Kootenays! We have an increasing number of German-speaking NewCanadians from Austria, Germany and Switzerland in our area. Add their nostalgia for the Christmas of their childhood to the Canadian “can-do” attitudeand the result is a community-wide sharing of German customs at our Weihnachtsmarkt in den Kootenays
A melding of local mining heritage and German customs
Gluehwein~an old tradition in Germany ~ ~ a new tradition in Silverton BC~Glühwein (Hot Mulled Wine)Zutaten (für zwei bis drei Personen)eine Flasche trockener Rotwein (750 ml)eine Zitrone2 Stangen Zimt3 Gewürznelken3 Esslöffel Zuckeretwas Kardamom (oder Ingwer)ZubereitungDen Rotwein in einem Topf erhitzen (nicht kochen). Die Zitrone inScheiben schneiden und hinzufügen. Dann Zimt, Nelken, Zucker undetwas Kardamom (nach belieben) dazugeben. Alles etwa 5 Minutenerwärmen - nicht kochen - und etwa eine Stunde ziehen lassen. Vor demServieren nochmals erwärmen, durch ein Sieb abgießen, in vorgewärmtenGläsern oder Bechern servieren .http://german.about.com/library/blrezept_gluehwein.htm
By 16:30 its dark inSilverton and the lightsof the Christmas marketbooths are twinkling. Es is 1630. Es ist dunkel. Die Weihnachtslichter brennen. Es ist gemuetlich – und kalt!
In the melding of cultures, a Canadian influence is at work. In theKootenays we have several world-famous ice sculptors who shared their artistic talent at the Weihnachtsmarkt.
This is what you get when you add the truly Canadian skill of chain saw art to traditional German wood carving
Der Weihnachtsbaum Today we see Christmas trees everywhere. Although in Germany the Christmas tree is a tradition dating back as far as the 15th century, the English-speaking world was introduced to the tradition in 1841 by Prince Albert, the German-born husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert installed a decorated Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1841 and woodcuts of the Royal Family’s tree appeared in London fashion magazines c. 1848.
The first known Christmas tree was set up in 1419 in Freiburg bythe town bakers, who decorated the tree with fruits, nuts, andbaked goods. The children were allowed to remove and eat thedecorations on New Years Day.It was the Town guilds and associations that first broughtevergreens inside their guild houses, decorating them withapples and sweets. Candles were eventually added to thedecorations. Today the German Tannenbaum is usually put up and decorated on Christmas Eve, though some families opt to erect their tree during the Advent season. Traditionally, the Germans used the fir tree, but nowadays the spruce is widely used. Decorations may include tinsel, glass balls or straw ornaments and sweets. A star or angel tops the Tannenbaum, and beneath the tree, a nativity scene might be set up and the presents next to it. It is not uncommon for Germans still to use real lit candles instead of electric lights on the tree.
My recollections of Christmas as a child bring back memories of the sense of wonder and miracles that my mother created with her German traditions. On Christmas Eve the living room was barred to the children. The door was locked after the Christmas tree was dragged in by my father. Mysterious things went on in there! We all had baths – youngest kid first. When it was my mum’s turn, my dad bundled all of us up and we went for a walk to look at Christmas lights in the streets.When we returned, miraculously, der Weihnachtsman hadbeen to visit. The tree had been put up, decorated withbaubles and lametta (tinsel), and real candles were alight. ANativity scene was set up under the tree. There werepresents and each of us had a round Christmas plate withfruit, nuts, Plaetzchen, Lebkuchen and a chocolateWeihnachtsman. We sang carols around the tree and openedour Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. Later we attendedmidnight mass. Just like in Germany!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, O Christmas tree, o Christmas treewie treu sind deine Blätter! How loyal are your leaves/needles!Du grünst nicht nur Youre green not only zur Sommerzeit, in the summertime,Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit. No, also in winter when it snows.O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, O Christmas tree, o Christmas treewie treu sind deine Blätter! How loyal are your leaves/needles!O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! O Christmas tree, o Christmas treeDu kannst mir sehr gefallen! You can please me very much!Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit How often has not at ChristmastimeEin Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut! A tree like you given me such joy!O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,Du kannst mir sehr gefallen! You can please me very much!O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! O Christmas tree, o Christmas treeDein Kleid will mich Your dress wants to was lehren: teach me something:Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit Your hope and durabilityGibt Trost und Kraft Provide comfort and strength zu jeder Zeit. at any time.O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,Das soll dein Kleid Thats what your dress should mich lehren. teach me. http://german.about.com/library/blotannenb.html
GanzTraditional German Christmas foodsMarzipan
StollenMy German grandmother used tosend us “care packages” at .Christmas with German goodiesincluding Stollen. I first made myown after I came to Canada. The recipewas from the Five Roses cookbook. MakingStollen is now part of my childrens multi-culturalCanadian tradition. And yes, we do open our presents onChristmas Eve!
Stollen – Ingredients2-1/2 cups (600 g) raisins4 tablespoons rum8 cups (1 kg) flour1-2 cups (250-500 ml) milk2 packages dry yeast (or 2 cubes of Stollen – what to dofresh yeast, if available)1 cup (200 g) sugar Soak raisins in rum overnight.1 teaspoon saltGrated rind of 1 lemon Combine flour, milk, yeast, sugar, salt and butter1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or nutmeg) to form a smooth yeast dough.1 lb. (453.6 g) unsalted butter3.5 oz (100 g) almonds, ground or finely Mix in almonds, candied lemon and orange peel,chopped 4 oz (113 g) candied lemon mace and raisins, one after another alwayspeel, finely chopped kneading the dough thoroughly.4 oz (113 g) candied orange peel, finelychopped Unsalted butter Let rest for 1 hour.Confectioners sugar for dusting Knead the dough once more, divide into two and shape two Stollen loaves. Bake for about 1 hour in preheated oven at 350 F After baking the Stollen, brush them with melted butter and dust generously with confectioners sugar. http://www.germanfoods.org/consumer/recipes/stollen.cfm
Spritzgebaeck 1 cup (2 sticks) butter 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar 5 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs 1/4 Tbsp. vanilla extract or grated rind from 1/2 lemon 1 1/2 cups ground almonds or hazelnuts 3 cups flour Man nehme Butter, Zucker, Eier, VanillenExtrakt, Zitronensaft, Hazelnuesse and Mehl Man bekommt Spritzgebaeck!
On the evening of Christmas Eve, we traditionally had trout or someother sea food. Meat was not allowed.Our traditional Christmas Day fare was Spargelsuppe roast goose with a prune/breadcrumb stuffing red cabbage (made with lemon juice, cloves and peppercorns, and sugar – just like Grandma’s) Spaeztle other miscellaneous vegetables –at least three Schwarzwaldkirschtorte Waldmeister (Dr. Oetker)