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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Weihnachtskrippe

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Weihnachtskrippe is the name given to a Nativity scene in Germany, often found in town centres during advent.  It depicts the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Many families have their own model Weihnachtskrippe at home.  Some of these are self-made, others have been collected over a period of time with a new figure being added each year.  Typically, these are also passed down through the generations.

Surprisingly, they were banned in churches at the end of the 18th Century.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Spekulatius

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

SpekulatiusSpekulatius is a type of spiced biscuit that is eaten at Christmas in Germany.  As well as the normal form of the biscuit, there are variations made with almonds or with extra butter.  The form of the biscuits tells the story of St. Nicholas.

Because of the price of the spices involved, these biscuits were expensive to make until the 1950s, so they are considered to be somewhat exotic.  These days, however, they are readily available in most supermarkets.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Dominosteine

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

DominosteineThe word Dominostein is used to describe a small baked sweet that is eaten at Christmas time in Germany.  It is made up of two or three layers, the base being Lebkuchen, the middle fruit jelly, and the top layer marzipan or persipan.  This is then covered in a thin chocolate coating.

Dominosteine are a relatively recent invention.  They were created in Dresden in 1936 and were popular during the Second World War as a form of sweet due to the small amounts of ingredients needed to make them.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Heilige Drei Könige

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Heilige Drei Könige is celebrated on 6th January. In some areas of Germany it is a public holiday.

The day celebrates the arrive of the three wise men from the east in Bethlehem. In the Evangelical Church it is known as Epihanias – similar to the English name of the day in some countries “Epiphany”.

On this day, groups of children known as Sternsinger go from door to door and sing a song or recite a poem or prayer. They then write in chalk above the door C+B+M and the number of the year with three crosses, eg. 20*C+M+B+08. These letters stand for the latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “God protect this house”.

The Sternsinger also collect donations for childrens’ charities.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Weihnachten

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

The 25th and 26th of December are celebrated in Germany as 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag and 2. Weihnachtsfeiertag. These days are public holidays, a tradition that dates back to Martin Luther.

Unlike many English-speaking countries, presents are not exchanged on these days, as this happens on Heiligabend.

Instead, many families come together on these days and eat together. For example, couples with children will spend the 25th with one set of grandparents, and the 26th with their others.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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