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December 10, 2013

Christmas magic in Germany

Christmas in Germany 3

One of the many great things about Europe is the magnificent way it celebrates the Christmas season. Throughout the continent, a spirit of festivity can be felt in the wintertime air. The traditions of the season are still strong in this thoroughly modern part of the world, where bustling Christmas markets fill the main square of big cities and bucolic, half-timbered villages alike. In the cathedrals, choirs singing the great medieval Christmas hymns fill the cavernous spaces with angelic harmonies.

With that said, this is the first in a series of posts on the various ways Christmas is celebrated in Europe. While each country has its own festive quirks, many of them share the greatest of the ancient traditions and it’s a joy to be enveloped by it.

Germany, for example, is one of the most magical places to experience the season. This seems ironic, as it’s arguably Europe’s most progressive, twenty-first century nation. But old traditions die hard and Germany reaches far into its medieval past to embrace and celebrate the season. From the Austrian border to the Baltic Sea, from the Black Forrest to Berlin, Germany comes alive at the holidays. Its people break out the gingerbread recipes, the carols, and the colors of the season.

Christmas in Germany 2

The sprawling Christkindle Markets fill the squares of communities across the country, bursting with music and food and seasonal décor. Traditional favorites such as gingerbread and sweet prune-and-fig candies are served at stalls under a kaleidoscope of Christmas colors. It’s not unusual for a small chorus to be serenading the bundled-up shoppers and sightseers with classic old Germanic carols, their puffs of visible breath ascending into the sky on the frosty air.

Performances of the Nutcracker are to be found in theatres across the country, while well-built manger scenes adorn the cobbled public spaces of both the predominantly Catholic South and Protestant North (this, after all the birthplace of Luther and Protestantism). Jolly St. Nicholas looms in the dreams of children eager for the big day to arrive.

It’s a good reminder that there is more to Germany that Oktoberfest and the Autobahn. They keep the best of their ancient traditions very much alive as they indulge in the classic sights, sounds and tastes of Christmas festivity.

Christmas in Germany 1

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: Europe, Images from the road, Notes from the collective travel mind, On The Road, Travel Writing, Vagabonding Life


3 Responses to “Christmas magic in Germany”

  1. GypsyGirl Says:

    I spent the holiday season in Sweden one year, and absolutely loved the rich traditions. At home, I don’t really celebrate Christmas per se, but found myself pleasantly willing to while abroad. To reflect, I believe this is because it lacked the tacky plastic decorations, frantically pushing people and materialistic core that the holiday seems to openly revolve around in many parts of the United States.

    My favorite aspect was the hundreds of real candles lit each night just to “Make things more pleasant.”

  2. Theresa W. Says:

    Yes! I so want to go to Germany for the Christkindlemarkets — even more now after reading this post.

  3. Christmas magic in Germany | James Ullrich Says:

    [...] Original post can be seen at http://www.vagablogging.net/christmas-magic-in-germany.html [...]

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