Christmas Fact 3


GERMAN ADVENT CALENDAR: FACT OF THE DAY

3. Dezember – Der Adventskalender

German Christmas bread goes by many different names in German: Stollen, Strutzel, Striezel, Stutenbrot, or Christstollen. No matter the name, the custom of baking bread or cake containing raisins and other fruits at Christmas goes back to Bohemia (Böhmen) and Saxony (Sachsen) in the 14th century.

Stollen

der Stollen/die Stolle: Dresdner Christstollen
PHOTO: © Alice Wiegand/CC-BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, at the German government’s request, the terms “Dresdner Stollen,” “Dresdner Christstollen” and “Dresdner Weihnachtsstollen” became officially registered, protected geographical labels according to EU law. Just like “champagne” from France, only Christmas fruit bread made in Dresden according to official guidelines can be labeled and sold as Dresdner Stollen.

The city of Dresden in Saxony has played a big role in the history of Stollen. In 1730 a Dresden baker named Zacharias baked a giant stollen so large, it took eight horses to pull it out of the oven. But most stollen today are about the size of a normal loaf of bread, usually covered with white powdered sugar. Tradition has it that the stollen loaf symbolizes the baby Jesus wrapped in “swaddling clothes.”

The Dresdner Striezelmarkt is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, dating back to 1434. (In 2015, the 581st Striezelmarkt is taking place.) Claims that the city of Bautzen in Saxony held its first Christmas market in 1384 have been disputed. It may not have been a true Christmas market. See the Wenzelsmarkt site for more.

For more about German Christmas bread (in German or English), see the web links below.

MORE > Photo Gallery: Christmas in Berlin

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