Bratwurst, Gluehwein, Lebkuchen. If you live in the Western world, you have most likely heard these names before. Don’t remember where? Let me help you out. They refer to all the goodies you will find on a German Christmas Market. Think, cold December NIghts right before Christmas. Empty city streets but loud cheer and cheesy christmas songs resonating from the Market Place. During the holiday season, locals and visitors alike will gather at the famous Christkindlmarkt – found in any major city – and enjoy traditional german sausage (Bratwurst), a cup (or two) of mulled wine (Gluehwein) and lots of sweet goodies (such as the Lebkuchen). The markets were originally created for small vendors and artisans to present and sell their goods as the most important Christian Holiday approaches. Weihnachtsmarkt in Baveria.
Germany’s history has always been dominated by Christianity. Until the end of the 19th century, life was all about religion. The only secular holiday celebrated with the same fervor as Easter and Christmas is New Year’s Eve (or Sylvester, as we call it in Germany). Firework shows, masquerade balls, house parties – everyone is celebrating – no matter his or her age. Although we don’t have a ball dropping from the TV Tower in Berlin, there are other widely distinguished traditions. Most people will eat fondue, watch Dinner for One (a black and white short film), and meet outside to watch the fireworks. A unique New Year’s Eve custom is Bleigiesen. A piece of steel is melted over a candle and then thrown into a a beaker of cold water. The newly created form predicts the fate Sylvester in Berlin of the coming year.
Diversity in Germany is on the Rise!!
What the future will look like for Germany is will be very interesting. Change is on its way, that’s for sure. Holidays and traditions are likely to change with the massive flow of immigrants coming in. Hopefully, the country will use this to its advantage and become an even more colorful place.
by Pauline F.