Traditions and Childhood Memories





GERMAN VERSIONof this page


When I was a kid in Germany , before Christmas there was "Advent"-time.
Besides the "Advent-calendar" (with one delicious piece of christmas-shaped chocolate for every one of the 24 days until Christmas.Behind every piece of chocolate appeared the item or scene of the Christmas Story it represented.)
we had a wreath with four candles on the table and every one of the four Sundays before Christmas we lit one (more)of the candles.
So by Christmas all four candles were burning.
We also knew a saying (translated from German):
Advent,Advent a light is burning,
First one , then two , then three , then four
Then then "CHRIST-CHILD" is at your door.

The Christ-Child comes on Christmas Eve and delivers all the presents."Usually" it comes and goes secretly,but "sometimes" you hear a little bell ringing...

What "Santa Claus" is in the USA , "ST.NIKOLAUS" is in Germany. He actually comes before Christmas , on the Eve of December 5th , to bring presents and to let you know what you have done good or bad in the past year.He has it all written down in a big golden book.
St. Nickolaus also has a helper - scary looking "Knecht Ruprecht" with a big heavy chain and a "spanker" made from tree twigs.He's there for the "bad kids" and a reminder to stay good throughout the coming year.

Children , who remember to put their boots in front of their door will find little goodies in them the morning of December 6th - a sign that St. Nickolaus stopped by once more!

Some Personal Winter Memories Of Mine:

  • baking cookies with my granny and my mom and eating too much dough without getting sick of it
  • ice-flowers on the window,I was faszinated with (a thing you won't see anymore with central heat etc.)
  • the ancient tree ornaments of my granny's Christmas tree , that were so much more beautiful than other people's!



    On Easter morning children in Germany go out into the garden where the "EASTER BUNNY" has hidden brightly colored boiled Eggs, chocolate eggs and other goodies. Sometimes they find only one egg at a time or a little basket hidden behind a tree, in the grass or between (or behind) spring flowers.

    If the weather is not so good the "Easter Bunny" hides the Easter goodies in the house behind and under furniture and sometimes leaves something on the table, too.

    Often children will get new clothes that holiday.

    It is also tradition to give an "Easter Lamb" (a cake in form of a lamb or a chocolate version) to remind each other on "The Lamb of God"¨: Jesus Christ.

    As pathetic as it sounds, German families will often eat rabbit
    (poor Easter Bunny :-) !!!) for Lunch or Dinner!
    I never thought of the rabbit roast as the "Easter Bunny", and I doubt any German kids do!



    St. Martin was roman Soldier who unlike most of his kind helped the poor.

    The legend goes that he rode his horse through ice and snow when he spotted a beggar on the side of the road whom was half frozen. So Martin took his sword and cut his cape in half and gave one half to the beggar.

    In Germany St. Martin is honored every year on the 11th of November with a parade for his great generosity.
    When the parade starts every child id given a sugar covered soft St. Martin’s-Pretzel.
    While children make lanterns of paper and carry them through the street adults carry lit torches. They sing (among other songs) the St. Martin’s-Song that tells of the above legend.
    The parade ends at a bonfire. Usually there is a drawing for a St. Martin’s-Goose after the parade.

    Here are the lyrics for the St. Martin’s Song: St. Martin St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin ritt durch Schnee und Wind, sein Roß, das trug ihn fort geschwind. St. Martin ritt mit leichtem Mut, sein Mantel deckt ihn warm und gut. Im Schnee, da saß ein armer Mann, hatt' Kleider nicht, hatt' Lumpen an: "Oh helft mir doch in meiner Not, sonst ist der bitt're Frost mein Tod!" St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin zieht die Zügel an, sein Roß steht still beim braven Mann. St. Martin mit dem Schwerte teilt den warmen Mantel unverweilt. St. Martin, St. Martin, St. Martin gibt den halben still, der Bettler rasch ihm danken will. St. Martin aber ritt in Eil hinweg mit seinem Mantelteil.

    Here’s a good link related to St.Martin:

    And here you find many songs and a few recipes: (German)



    This is kind of a fifth season for people in Germany. It originates from medieval times when people believed they could scare away the evil and gruel spirits of winter with lots of noise and scary masks.
    The main events take place in February although the season officially begins already on St. Martin’s-Day, November 11 (note the date: 11/11) and ends on Ascher-Mittwoch before the Christian so-called Fast-Time of 40 days before Easter. Fastnacht or Fasching is also called the Fool’s-Season.
    All people dress up in scary or funny costumes (weird like fools) and there is a Fastnacht- or Fasching-parade in every town featuring big floats, which are used to express the opinions of the majority of the people in a funny way and uniquely dressed groups of people. Among those groups are always the Funkenmariechen – teenage girls in medieval type French looking costumes and wigs dancing and cheering uniformly.
    Often politicians become a victim of sarcasm and the ongoing funnies.
    The parades take place with lots of noise and music. Most of the parade people throw candy to the children and give little shots of alcohol to the adult. You will always hear Fasching-specific greetings like Helau, Alle Hopp, Daje etc., depending on the region.

    Other than the parades there is different events where Buettenreden are held. Those are speeches that again give praise or critics to politicians and other popular people in a funny kind of way.
    One day is completely dedicated to women: the day of the Weiberfastnacht. Women dress up go out and have fun. If there’s a man around, who wears a tie, it will be cut off by the women as a symbol of taking charge.

    Main events on the Fasching-calendar are the conquering of the courthouse by the fools (who apply a new peculiar set of funny laws) and the crowning of the Karneval-prince and –princess.

    On the last day of the Fasching-season the power is returned to the government officials and the fools retire to come up with new folly ways of celebrating their season during the rest of the year.


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