Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It´s the season to rejoice.....

"The Nativity" scene at the christmas market

Once again the festive period is at hand. In about 2 weeks it´s going to be christmas day but hey! the celebration had long begun. All over Germany people are already celebrating because now is "Adventszeit" (Advent). Every where are Advent calenders, Advent wreaths with candles and Advent or pre-christmas markets. Back in africa we don´t celebrate Advent like its done here in Germany. Over the years I have come to love celebrating this and more especially the traditions surrounding this period. It is also lots of fun when one has children because we get the chance to see this once again through the eyes of a child. In the coming days  I am going to share with you all how we celebrate Advent right through to Christmas day. By the way what is Advent?

 What is Advent? ( source wikipedia & projectbritain.com)

Advent is the new year of the Christian Church and the church season that leads to Christmas Day. Advent is the time when Christians remember that Jesus came into the world in Palestine 2000 years ago and that Jesus also promised one day to return in all His glory. During the season of Advent, Christians across the world prepare for the celebration of the arrival of the Lord into the world through the birth of his Son Jesus Christ. Advent is a time to celebrate light in the midst of darkness.

our modernized classic Advent wreath :-)....2 lighted candle represents the 2nd Advent sunday

Advent begins on the sunday nearest to 30th november and lasts until midnight on Christmas Eve. Advent Sunday is the first of the four sundays before the 25th December. The traditions and customs surrounding this period is what I really love......The "Adventskranz" (Advent wreath) like its called in german is a widely recognized symbol of Advent. The wreath is normally made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life. Four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. Well, nowadays people tend to modernize their Advent wreaths to suit their individual style and taste, me not being an exception :-) This year hubby and I decided to have a simple rectangle shaped one instead of a circle and we used classic white candles instead of red. Like hubby will say "weniger ist mehr"(less is sometimes more). Oh yes, he is Mr. Classic colours and I am Mrs. Rainbow colours......the brighter the merrier it is for me :-)))

Advent time is baking time.....my "Weihnachtsplätzchen"(christmas cookies)

The beginning of Advent is when the preparations for Christmas really begins - the festive menu is planned, gifts are chosen and wrapped, carols sung, cards are written and posted and houses decorated. I wonder what hubby will say when he sees my colour-theme for this year´s christmas tree....hope he doesnt have a shock...LOL. It´s definately going to be vibrant colours against classic colours this year...:-)))

one of hubby´s Advent calendar.....yes he´s got a sweet tooth :-))

Another popular symbol of Advent is the Advent Calender. The popular tradition of advent calendars arose in Germany in the late 1800s and soon spread throughout Europe and North America. Originally, the images in Advent calendars came from the Hebrew Bible. Many Advent calendars today have no religious content. Now, alongside traditional Advent calendars depicting angels and biblical figures are those whose doors open to display teddy bears, pieces of chocolate, or photos of pop stars. 
During Advent, some people make or buy Advent calendars as a way of counting the days to Christmas. The first sign of Christmas in most homes is the advent calendar. Advent calendars are a fun way to help children to know when Christmas Eve will arrive, an important night for them because Father Christmas (Santa Claus) will visit them bringing gifts. An Advent calendar is a poster or card with twenty-four small doors, one to be opened each day from 1st December until Christmas Eve. Each door conceals a picture. Every morning children open one window of the calendar to see a pretty picture or find a chocolate inside.

my son´s Advent calendar.....he is a big disney fan

6 December is Saint Nikolaus' Day!

In Germany, 6 December is an important day for children. On the evening of 5 December, children place a boot or shoe outside the door, hoping that Nikolaus will fill it with presents. My son was quite excited to see what Nikolaus will put inside his boot.
Across the German-speaking region of Europe there are many kinds of Santa Clauses with many different names. Despite their many names, they are all basically the same mythic character. But few of them have anything to do with the real Saint Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus or der heilige Nikolaus), who was probably born around A.D. 245 in the port city of Patara in what we now call Turkey. Very little solid historical evidence exists for the man who later became the Bishop of Myra and the patron saint of children, sailors, students, teachers, and merchants. He is credited with several miracles and his feast day is Dec. 6, which is the main reason he is connected with Christmas. In Austria, parts of Germany, and Switzerland, der heilige Nikolaus (or Pelznickel) brings his gifts for children on Nikolaustag, Dec. 6, not Dec. 25. Nowadays, St. Nicholas Day (der Nikolaustag) on Dec. 6 is a preliminary round for christmas day.

kids in Germany get their presents from Saint Nikolaus in boots placed outside the door :-)

my baby was so excited to find what Nikolaus placed inside his boots

Saint Nikolaus became famous for his good deeds. One story tells of how he secretly helped three poor sisters. He didn’t want the sisters to find out that he was helping them, so he climbed onto the roof of their house and dropped three lumps of gold down the chimney. In Germany, the story goes that the three pieces of gold fell into three shoes. This is the reason why kids in Germany get their presents from Saint Nikolaus in shoes :-) During this time i always start my christmas baking too. My hubby and son love Weihnachtsplätzchen(christmas cookies)

chocolate and vanilla christmas cookies

My favorite tradition around this season are the "Weihnactsmärkte" (christmas markets). With so many Christmas Markets through out Germany the most difficult choice is which Christmas Market to visit.  The best solution is to sample at least two or three markets, preferably in a city for some serious shopping and a small town or village for something a little bit more romantic.
Most Christmas Markets start in the last week of November and run through to Christmas Eve. They are usually open every day from 10am to about 8 or 9 pm. My first visit took me to a small romantic Christmas Market in the Frankfurt city part of Sachenshausen. Visiting during the early hours is great if one has kids with them...it is not yet crowded and one can move about freely.

the small but very romantic Sachenshausen christmas market

the christmas market was held at the foot of the famous "Goetheturm"(Goethe tower)

the Goethe Tower has a breath-taking view of the Frankfurt city skyline and the landing band of the Airport

Louis enjoying a mini-caroussel ride....

moi, infront of "The Nativity" scene
checking out the "Glühwein"  (mulled wine).... :-)

As next i will be be visitng another market in a "make-believe village" in the Hessen theme park. I will see you all there when next we meet. I wish you all a  lovely Advent season and stay cool until we meet again.

click here for more photos of our adventures

from "Deutschland" with luv,

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