Advent and Christmas in Germany
Advent and Christmas in Germany are a time for traditional, family celebrations. Even in today's consumer-oriented and hectic world―or maybe because of it―the Christmas season is still considered a time for togetherness and simple pleasures. Christmas Eve, called Heiligabend, is the day that final decorations are put on the tree and families gather to share presents. Both December 25 and 26 are official holidays.
Visit our multi-lingual online Advent Calendar each day from December 1 to 24 for a new surprise. We even have puzzles and games this year.
A favorite pastime for Germans and tourists alike is savoring the winter holiday season at a local Christmas market. The colorful fairs spring up in most towns and cities for the four-week Advent season leading up to Christmas Eve.
German Christmas Markets
A man with a long white beard, a bishop’s miter, and a thick red cape comes knocking on the door at some houses every December 6. Other children wake to find their shoes have been filled with treats. Who is this international man of mystery?
Celebrating Advent is an important part of Christmas in Germany. For Christians both Protestant and Roman Catholic, it is a time of quiet contemplation that begins four Sundays before Christmas Eve.
Marking the Advent Season
"Silent Night, Holy Night," one of the best known Christmas carols in the world, was written in German and first premiered in Austria in 1818. After a performance in Leipzig it became popular across Germany and has since been translated into some 300 languages and dialects.
Although nutcrackers in various shapes and sizes have been around for thousands of years, the nutcracker soldier known the world over – and immortalized by Tchaikovsky – is of German origin, as is the story on which the popular ballet is based.