Advent Time in Germany.
There you go - first German Christmas fun fact!
There are numerous German Christmas traditions that take place during the Adventszeit, yet, I will give you my Top Three (otherwise, I’d be sitting here until Christmas Eve…):
1. Plätzchenbacken. German Plätzchen are biscuits that come in all shapes and flavours. My mother usually produces around seven different types of Plätzchen, that are stored in big tins and come out in the afternoon, when it is time for a cup of coffee. Unlike Kaffee & Kuchen, Plätzchen are not only allowed on a Sunday afternoon, but every day! What else would you want?!
2. Nikolaustag. On 6th of December is St. Nicholas’ Day. Traditionally, children place a boot outside the door on the evening before. When they wake up the next morning, the boots are filled with sweets, oranges, walnuts or little presents from Nikolaus. According to the legend Nikolaus only gives presents to the good children, whereas naughty kids will be punished by Knecht Ruprecht. Sounds familiar to you? Maybe you have heard of Krampus before – the Austrian version of Nikolaus’s scary companion.
By the way: tonight is your chance to start the German Nikolaus tradition in your home! Ask your partner, friend, flatmate to place a boot outside their door this evening and fill it overnight. Everybody loves little presents, especially when waking up on Nikolaustag :-)
3. Adventskranz. In most German homes, one will find an advent wreath, or some sort of decoration that consists of four candles. The tradition of lighting one candle on the four Sundays before Christmas, was founded by Johann Hinrich Wichern in the 19th century. Since the children in his orphanage always asked him how many days were left before Christmas Eve, he placed 20 red candles and four white candles (for Sundays) on a big wooden wheel and lit one candle a day. Hence, every Sunday, another candle is lit, with the fourth being either Christmas Eve itself or the final Sunday before.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an Adventskranz this year, because Tom and I are in the process of moving to Germany. Nevertheless, I lit a little tea light last Sunday – I must admit it looked a little sad without any fir-tree twigs and decorations, but it still pleased by German heart.
If you feel like baking Plätzchen now, there are a lot of great recipes online (try Chefkoch.de, lecker.de or kochbar.de) and feel free to share your photos under this article! Want a catchy German (kids) song to accompany your baking adventures?! Try "In der Weihnachtsbäckerei" from Rolf Zukowski - it is timeless!
Have a lovely Adventszeit!