5. Dezember – Der Adventskalender
Der Adventskranz, the Advent wreath, is one of the most widespread Christmas customs in German-speaking Europe. As we mentioned before in Der Adventskalender (Dec. 1), Advent is the four-week period leading up to Christmas. For Catholics and Protestants the Advent season begins on the first Sunday after November 26. On each of the four Advent Sundays leading up to Christmas, a new candle (die Kerze) is added to the Advent wreath. Advent wreaths come in many versions (pine, wood, plastic, metal, etc.), but they are always round and feature four (sometimes five) Advent candles.
In some families each Advent Sunday is devoted to lighting a new candle, singing some carols, and reading verses from the Bible. Although the Advent wreath is a very Christian tradition, its origins go back to pagan, pre-Christian times. In the photo you can see that the wreath is now in the fourth week of Advent, with all four candles burning.
MORE > Advent Customs in Germany
For more about Christmas in German-speaking Europe, see the Related Pages below.
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- 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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