Christmas traditions in Germany

Ashleigh Garcia and Desiree Villanueva

Christmas is considered to be one of the most important holidays in German culture. Weihnachten, is Christmas in German.

Celebrating officially starts on December 6th, also known as Saint Nicholas Day. Saint Nicholas fills children’s shoes with treats if they have been good, if not he fills them with twigs. During Advent, people place wreaths made of Holly flowers on tables with four red candles in the center. One candle is lit every Sunday before Christmas and the last one is lit on Christmas eve.

Advent calendars with pictures behind them are used by children to count down the days till Christmas, much like what we do in America. Nowadays advent calendars have chocolate or small toys in them.The first advent calendar was made in the mid 19th century.  

Christmas markets pop up in all German towns to celebrate the season. They are filled with brass bands playing and holiday festivities. Baked goods and handcrafted items are sold too.These markets date back to the 14th century.  

In Germany Santa Claus is a direct descendant from Saint Nicholas. Both are depicted as a jolly older man with a long white beard, usually wearing a red fur coat. Very different from the American way as Santa Claus doesn’t go through to the chimney but the front door.

You could say that the Germans have a little more fun with the holidays than us Americans. They also get an extra day of goodies. We would love to travel to Germany during the holiday and experience this wonderful Christmas season they have.