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Friday, December 7, 2012

Saint Nikolaus Excitement!

German Christmas Traditions 

Fröhlich Fröhlich Tra-La La La La! Bald Ist Nikolausabend Da!
Nikolaustag - 6. Dezember
December 5, or the evening of December 6, in small communities in Austria and Germany, children eagerly await a man dressed as der Heilige Nikolaus. St. Nicholas, who dressed as a bishop and carying a staff goes from home to home bringing small gifts, candy, nuts,and fruit to the children. Sometimes he eaves tge treats in the night in children's clean shoes,or on a colourful plate - bunte teller. Accompanying him is either Schmutzig Peter - a chimney sweep, or several ragged looking, devil-like Krampusse, who mildly scare the children. These characters tease children threatening to leave them sticks if they were not well behaved.  In some regions, there are other names for both Nikolaus and Krampus (Knecht Ruprecht in Germany). Sometimes Krampus/Knecht Ruprecht is the good guy bringing gifts, equal to or replacing St. Nicholas. As early as 1555, St. Nicholas brought gifts on Dec. 6, the only “Christmas” gift-giving time during the Middle Ages, and Knecht Ruprecht or Krampus was a more threatening  figure.
 Children sometimes leave a wish list for Nikolaus to pass on to the Weihnachtsmann for Christmas. This is also when many children receive their Advent Kalendar.

Here is the traditional Christmas Carol

 Heiliger Abend - 24. Dezember
Christmas Eve is the most important day of the German celebration. But there's no Santa Claus coming down the chimney, no reindeer, no waiting till Christmas morning!   Instead before December 24,  a room or section of the house is closed off to children until the evening of December 24, when the doors are opened, revealing the Christmas tree to the excited youngsters only at the last minute. The decorated Tannenbaum is the center of the Bescherung, the exchanging of gifts, which takes place on Christmas Eve, either before or after dinner. In most regions, the angelic Christkindl or the more secular Weihnachtsmann is the bringer of gifts that don't come from other family members or friends rather than Santa Claus. In religious families, there also may be readings of Christmas-related passages from the Bible. Many people attend midnight mass (Christmette), where they sing carols, much as on the occasion of the first Christmas Eve performance of “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”) in Oberndorf, Austria in 1818. How does your family celebrate Christmas? Source: Connect With Us on Twitter Follow us through Networked Blogs

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