Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Christmas Eve

Here's something surprising about German customs that I've only just discovered: the main event of Christmas over here is the evening of 24th December ('Weihnachten' or 'Holy Night'). For them, 25th December is simply the 'first day of Christmas' and is a day for visiting friends and family.

On Weihnachten festivities begin in the late afternoon with the opening of gifts. Depending on the region of Germany, people either believe that gifts are brought by 'Christkind' (a fair-haired angel) or a figure called 'der Weihnachtsmann' (who looks more like our Father Christmas).

After presents have been unwrapped it is time for a hearty dinner - traditionally carp. Many families conclude the evening by attending a midnight Christmas Mass.

I often wondered how Father Christmas managed to deliver presents to the whole world in the early hours of 25th - now I know that he has der Weihnachtsmann and Christkind to help him and those guys start a bit earlier. It's that age old method of getting things done: team work!

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