Christmas or Christmas in the country meant only the birthday of Jesus Christ to most of us. I used to go to church and pray that day. The day is celebrated among families. After arriving in Germany, December 1 was indeed a very happy month for me!
Decorating the town for Christmas started from the house where we lived. I would have liked to see different lighting! The excitement of everyone, young and old, around the Christmas market is truly mind-blowing.
Preparations for Christmas in Germany start about four weeks in advance This period is called ‘Adventzite’ That is, the time of the appearance of Jesus So many arrangements are made to bring the festival time ‘nearly’ It was during this period that the ‘Adventcrantz’ was created, which began its journey in 1839 in Hamburg, Germany. A kind of bouquet made by twisting the leaves of the fir tree It is placed on the table or hung in the window in many homes Four candles are placed on it One candle is lit every Sunday during the four weeks before Christmas When four candles are lit, Christmas is near
The advent calendar was created by the Germans The elders of the family make an advent calendar and put nuts, fruits, chocolates or toys in its shell for the little ones. Children are no longer happy by getting one thing at a time. And now this calendar is available in all stores from the last week of November. And everyone’s buying spree!
We go to the Christmas market several times every year. As the boy enjoys, so do I. The son’s choice of various rides and our choice of food! All in all we move around again and again throughout the month. Now I decided to go to many cities and visit the Christmas markets. Let’s see how they are celebrating. But Vidhibam!! I got sick. Even then, one day when the body felt a little better, a plan was made with the younger brothers and sisters.
I went to a small town quite far from our city. It’s raining, it’s like people are pouring in. Everyone parked the car and started walking. We stopped at the Christmas market as we passed the shops and streets lined with colorful lights. As I got closer, the music and the voices of many people started coming. Accompanied by crepes, fried potatoes and the aroma of mulled wine. We all started walking around the shop. When the boy runs again and takes us on a ride, he wants to ride.
We continued to move forward amid stories and laughter. Round tables in front of shops. Standing there, someone is eating mulled wine, and someone else or Masrum or fried potatoes! Huge queues in front of every shop. Someone is talking about a coffee mug! We stood in line to buy food in a shop. Right in front of him I saw a huge Christmas tree. What a beautiful arrangement!
When you hear about the Christmas festival, the Christmas tree comes to mind. Apples, doves, fishes, flowers, fruits, candles, birds, angels, etc. are decorated with various types and colors of this green tree. Apart from the red and white hat of Santa Claus/St. Nicholas, Christmas celebrations remain incomplete without this tree. I used to think that this tree has been used since ancient times as an ‘integral ritual’ of Christianity.
But, I came to Germany for the first time to know that there are various stories about where the tradition of this tree started on the occasion of Christmas. But, the Christmas tree is a modern invention.
Many believe that the tradition of the tree is linked to Saint Boniface of Geismar, Germany. Saint Boniface saw a cedar-like fir tree growing from the root of an ancient oak tree. He instituted it as a sign of faith in Jesus Christ. But there is no proof of such an event, it is just a legend. However, according to Protestant tradition, Martin Luther is credited with decorating the first Christmas tree. However, this information is not supported by researchers.
Admittedly, the Christmas tree is a relatively new tradition. It originated as a small and local tradition in the Alsatian capital of Strasbourg in the 17th century. And since then spread around. Also, many say that long ago the Germans in Strasbourg kept a tree at Christmas as part of the ‘judgment tradition’. On this day, parents used to judge the actions of their children. If they were happy with the result, chocolates were left under the tree for them, and if they were not satisfied, they were not.
In the 1770s, the practice spread to other parts of Germany. German romantic novelist Goethe Sorrows of Young Werther The novel talks about the Christmas tree. This was the first time that Christmas trees were presented to such a large number of readers or on such a large scale. But it was not until the 1830s that the practice of this tree became widely accepted. By then, Christmas trees had begun to gain popularity in America.
But if this tree is not decorated, there will be a void somewhere in the joy of this day. In German schools, offices or shops, Christmas trees are arranged in front of the door at the beginning of December!
Seeing the Christmas tree so beautifully decorated, we all stood close. Many people are standing in front of taking pictures, why should we be left out! We all stood together and took pictures of this Christmas.
The rain continued to increase slowly. So we hurriedly left for our car. I left behind the noise and the message of the festival floating in the air.
the writer: Anthropologist, public health researcher and social worker