17. Dezember – Der Adventskalender
Der Tannenbaum als Geheimnis • The Secret Christmas Tree
Some German families with young children still maintain the old German custom of keeping the Christmas tree hidden away or locked in a room where the kids can’t see it until Christmas Eve. The parents put up and decorate the tree, only to keep it a secret until the big “unveiling” on the 24th. It is a big event when the children get to see the family Tannenbaum for the first time on Christmas Eve, the night of die Bescherung (gift-giving).
To non-Germans it may seem strange to keep one of the key symbols of a German Christmas hidden from sight until the last minute, but it is a long and revered tradition which makes the tree a wonderful surprise for children and a central element of a family’s Christmas. The tree stays up until at least January 6 – Epiphany, Dreikönigstag, the “Twelfth Day” of Christmas – so the children still get to enjoy the decorated tree for almost two weeks.
CAROL > “O Tannenbaum” (“O Christmas Tree”) – Lyrics in German and English
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- Advent – The Latin word means “arrival.” This custom begins on the first Advent Sunday around December 1.
- Photo Gallery: Christmas in Germany – Berlin – A visual tour of Christmas markets and other December sights in Berlin
- Christmas in the USA and Germany– A comparison chart
- German Christmas Carols – Popular carols with lyrics in German and English
- Barbarazweig – The legend and the Christmas custom
- Epiphany and the Sternsinger – January 6 in the Germanic Christmas tradition
- Erntedank (“harvest thanksgiving”) or Erntedankfest in Germany and Austria is different from the American Thanksgiving tradition.
- St. Nicholas – The many German St. Nicks
- Thomas Nast created the modern Santa image.
- The Christmas Pickle Ornament – Fact or fiction?
- Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – Our “Silent Night” page has the true story and related links.
- Holidays and Celebrations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
- Glass Ornaments – a history
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