German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Prune Men, Prune People as Zwetschgenmännle, Dried Plum Boys, were joined by Zwetschgenweibla, Dried Plum Girls, long ago, are traditional German handcrafts. Good Luck symbols given to celebrate everything from Birthdays and Weddings to New Year, here is the story and easy DIY "How To" guide.

Francine A. McKenna

Weihnachtszeit, and tucked among the branches of some of Germany's Christmas Trees is a red apple...Der Paradiesapfel - The Paradise Apple. A symbol of "Hope" and "Promise" something lost will be found, that a goal or purpose revealed or achieved.

Francine A. McKenna

Europe lay in rubble, and the winter of 1946/1947 was the coldest in living memory. Known in Germany as the time of "Weisser Tod", white death, and "Schwarzer Hunger", black hunger, hundreds of thousands died. Weihnachten was different that year, New Year and Spring held no promises.

Francine A. McKenna

German Lebkuchen is a special German gingerbread for baking anything from spicy ginger cookies, Christmas decorations or aromatic Lanterns, Valentine's Day or Oktoberfest Hearts, Witches' Cottages, Gingerbread Men or Halloween Ghosts. And whatever you create with this recipe will be delicious.

Francine A. McKenna

So how do they spend Christmas in Germany? Filled with celebration and age old customs, it is a rich and colorful mix of the religious, secular, traditional, folk and food.

Francine A. McKenna

There would be no Santa Claus if there hadn't been a St. Nicholas, as his reputation as secret benefactor, and giver of gifts, was the inspiration for Sinterklaas. Santa Claus. Nicholas Eve on December 5 and December 6 Nicholas Day make "Nikolaus" a magical time in many regions of Europe.

Francine A. McKenna

Cold weather brings traditional warming winter drinks in Germany, but not only for Weihnachten and New Year with its timeless combination of "Gluehhwein" and "Christmas/New Year". There are many, and here are a few to try, from Glühwein and Punch to Pharisaeer with its story.

Francine A. McKenna

They sit on flat surfaces, or hang from a height...their four candles surrounded by evergreen foliage. One candle for each of Advent's four weeks. "Die Adventskränze", Advent Wreath, one of many traditions that are a part of Christmas in Germany.