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St. Nicholas in Germany
Without St. Nicholas there would be no Santa Claus. His reputation as a secret benefactor and giver of gifts made him the inspiration for Sinterklaas, and with St. Nicholas Eve on December 5, and December 6 St. Nicholas Day, "Nikolaus" is still a magical time in many areas of Germany.
Advent Calendars, a Countdown to Christmas
December 1 signals time to discover the first of the Advent Calendar's twenty-four surprises and it begins the countdown to Heiligabend, Christmas Eve. In Germany an Adventskalender has been a much loved Weihnachtszeit holiday tradition for generations.
Seasonal and Holiday Drink Recipes
Warming winter drinks are found everywhere during Germany's cold weather season, not only for the Weihnachten and New Year celebrations when "Gluehwein" and "Christmas/New Year" make a timeless combination. From Gluehwein and Punch to Pharisaeer there are many traditional drinks to try.
Advent Wreaths and Advent in Germany
Advent Wreaths don't decorate doors in Germany, they sit on flat surfaces or hang from a height and have four candles surrounded by evergreen foliage. One for each of Advent's four weeks. 'Die Adventskraenze', just one of many traditions that are a part of Christmas in Germany.
Germany's Ruhr Valley - The Ruhr Metropolis
Germany's rejuvenated Ruhr Valley has an industrial history that reaches back 750 years, and a revitalized metropolis of 53 towns and cities which has been a "European Capital of Culture". A tribute honoring the way the entire region emphasizes European cultures, and the links connecting them.
Traditional Christmas Cookie Recipes
Baking Weihnachts Plaetzchen is another of Germanyís centuries old traditional Christmas customs. Holiday cookie recipes vary from region to region and family to family, but during Advent, even amongst those who do not follow the Christian faith, few homes will be without their Weihnachtskekse.
Germany's 'Lucky' Chimney Sweeps
Throughout Europe Chimney Sweeps are surrounded by tradition and superstition, including in Germany where both the practice and customs of the country's 'Lucky' Schornsteinfeger, in their black gold buttoned suits and top hats, are rooted far in the past.
Oberammergau Passion Play
The wind of change has blown through the Bavarian village of Oberammergauís centuries old and unique Passion Play, although Jesusí entrance to Jerusalem, his crucifixion and resurrection remain the focal points.
German Specialty, Roast Goose Recipe
"Koelner Martinsgans" is a delicious St. Martin's Goose specialty from Cologne. Roast Goose, Red Cabbage and Dumplings are enjoyed from autumn onwards, not only for the Christmas, New Year's Eve and St. Martin's Day festivities, and here is a recipe with the traditional side dishes.
German Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Days
Halloween has arrived in Germany. Witches, Germany's "Forest Goddesses" in pagan times, have returned, carved pumpkins, ghosts and skeletons are now seen on the streets, but it is celebrated alongside the country's centuries old "All Saints" and "All Souls" Day traditions.
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