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.
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.
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
- 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
GERMAN CHRISTMAS BREAD ON THE WEB
- Dresdner Christstollen – Wikipedia (Deutsch)
- Dresden Stollen – Wikipedia (English)
- You’re Doing It Wrong: Christmas Bread (Slate) – “There are certain things Germans do better than everyone else. Not incurring massive amounts of public debt is one of them. Christmas baking is another.”
- Dresden – Striezelmarkt – Dresden, the home of stollen, claims its Christmas market is Germany’s oldest.
- Dresdner Striezelmarkt (Wikipedia, Deutsch)
- Weihnachtsmärkte zwischen Rostock und Stuttgart: Frivol, fürstlich, festlich (Der Spiegel, Deutsch)
- Striezel, Toffel, Schmalzgebäck (Der Spiegel, Deutsch)
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