Christmas in Germany
Contrary to popular perception about the Germans-the workaholics, ready for a year of work, breaks his back, in Germany quite a lot of public holidays marked in work calendars in red rest. Most certainly religious, but many are quite secular – from Mayday to established not so long ago, the day of unification of the country. However, the main and most beloved is undoubtedly Weinacht, Holy Evening, and Russian Christmas.
Thorough the Germans are preparing for it long and carefully, not less than one month. For four Sundays before Holy Night about the upcoming holiday recalls everyone: is celebrated the first Sunday of advent.
In many German homes on this day, lit the first of four candles on the prepared gaily decorated wreath. Closest friends sit at a festive table, to taste the pride of the hostess – Stollen is a yeast cake with fragrant spices, raisins, candied fruit and other Goodies.
December in Germany is a month of purchases. Eager, hurrying, Laden with bags crowd the morning fills the giant Department stores and small souvenir stores. Everyone knows that after the New year to start the sale, all dramatically cheaper, but spoon the road for dinner and a gift for the holiday.
Statistics say that for this month the Germans despise almost more money than the rest of the year. In many firms in the labor agreement includes the obligation of the employer to pay its employees a special Christmas bonus.
And even unemployed clients of social services to the regular monthly allowance in December, add a certain amount because they have to buy gifts for your family and friends, not to be away from the General fun. And the relief of the poor for Christmas – ancient sanctified Church tradition. So the day of Christ’s birth in a multinational and poly-confessional Germany rejoice and Turks, Indians, and Jews, and Chinese.
Usually on the eve of the first Sunday of advent begin to work Christmas markets. In different cities of the country takes place nearly three hundred such fairs, and travel agents begin vying to invite a trip to the neighbors to see what they sell.
But most important, the most popular Christmas market in Germany, according to tradition, is organized in Nuremberg. attracting thousands of visitors from all corners of the Earth.
On the Market square, located in the heart of any German city, near the city’s main Cathedral and city hall, as if by magic grow fairy-tale towers, houses-gingerbread, decorated with fir branches and bright illumination.
So there are no Christmas decorations and jewelry, fancy dolls and funny animals, miniature ceramic houses, in the Windows of which varies the flame of a candle, and a huge hand-painted balls, stars, angels, gold and silver, glass and porcelain, gemstones and coral. Belgian lace, Dutch faience, French enamel, Polish amber, Czech crystal, Scottish skirt, Chinese fans, the Russians boxes and dolls. Everything shines, glitters, shimmers, beckons.
However, the Christmas market is not only grandiose the marketplace. That and exhibition of local crafts, and a parade of skill craftsmen, and a concert venue, and a place for family walks.
Musical ensembles and soloists-singles from all over the world follow each other on a specially built stage under a canopy of huge trees, and just the surrounding streets.
Dutch rock band is playing next door with Colombian folk ensemble; it sounds like a real Scottish bagpipe, here is a violinist brings sad Gypsy melody. And here is its: a brass Quartet invigorates the audience with rousing marches, on the plate-trafaret the inscription “St. Petersburg Conservatory”.
Not far away is a wondrous miracle: piercingly plaintive melody that came from the childhood of our grandmothers. An elderly carmensita similar to Mrs. Hulda, Mrs. Hall, one hand turn the crank of his instrument, the other takes out a bag of candy, treats kids.
Shining children’s eyes: circle true tale! And order a gigantic Nutcracker growth under three meters – what is Christmas without him in Germany?
Hours you can wander around the Market square in the medieval streets, where the Gothic spires pierce the low winter clouds, where the mysterious chime about something warn old chimes, and the pine scent mixed with the smell of burning candles. A light frost is not a hindrance, because at each step you can warm up with a mug of hot spicy mulled wine.
A beautiful ceramic mug with the image of a festive Market square should take as a souvenir. Each city prepares for the Christmas market souvenir mugs, annually, their colors and pattern are changed, so that in a few years you can gather amusing collection.
To late night noise in the square more fun bargaining, and the next morning resumed with renewed vigor. And so four weeks. Nearing the culmination!
But in the first Christmas morning – a new surprise: the city is clean, quiet and empty. Full people of the Church. Even the German who went a year without WEDAL road here, at Christmas goes to mass.
The Church is also decorated with fluffy fur-trees, above the altar of the shining star of Bethlehem, and at the entrance under the glass display case the whole composition: the Nativity scene, manger of the Christ child, away solemn procession is approaching the Magi with gifts. Throw a coin in the slot – and revive the biblical scene: lights up the guiding star, will run mountain brook, will move caravans.
After German Christmas service, the family sits down at the festive table, which was dominated, of course, the traditional goose with apples and cabbage. Close Windows and doors, starts the Holy Night, when everyone wants to be in the circle of the closest people to enjoy the joy of fellowship with each other. After months of hoopla and Orgy of pre-holiday preparations two Christmas day amaze quiet solemnity and intimacy.
But after a week in the new year’s eve, when the clock will converge at twelve, young and old poured into the streets. Shoot firecrackers scattered in the sky colored sheaves, turning fire crackers – long is a Grand fireworks display. All congratulate each other, never once breaking up with mobile phones – want to distant friends happiness in the coming year.