As soon as Oktoberfest is over, you’ll notice, that here and there christmas sweets and chocolates appear slowly and then christmas atmosphere conquers every shop window, street lights, every corner of the city so fulminantly, that you can not ignore the sign, what is coming next, namely: Christmas.
Around the turn of the year everyone is somehow excited, seems to be in a certain hurry, as if they try to accomplish even one of the last year’s new year’s resolutions. Me, in contrast, I enjoy every shining lights and spreading smell in such a peaceful way, that I consciously walk slowly to inhale the special festive atmosphere. Not that I am not as enthusiastic about the new year as when I was a kid, my excitement has turned into enjoying every moment until new year and being grateful for the past one.
For the first time in my life, I have been to a Christmas market in Germany as a freshman student years ago. Christmas market is one of the most beautiful places I love visiting during Christmas time. It starts generally last weekend of november and lasts until Christmas Eve, is open daily till 8 or 11 pm depending on its location.
Those small wooden houses selling roasted chestnuts, hot red wine, typical half meter long fried sausages or offering handicraft winter articles, souvenirs and candles attract people to come nearer and it is the best place for after work party, for a nonchalant meeting or a date.
Munich is a big city, so there are many Christmas markets to try out. One of my favorite is that of Residence in the middle of the city. At the western gate of Residence four bronze sculptures of Bavarian iconic Lion will greet you. Locals believe that, your wish comes true, if you rub on the nose. That is why the patina is rubbed away. Locals rub it quickly on the way, tourists rub it slowly, take an obligatory picture and cause some queue.
Christmas in german is called /Weihnachten/, it means „to the sacred nights“ /zu den geweihten Nächten/ .
Bavarians call the four sundays of december till Christmas iron, copper, silver and golden Advent. On each of these sundays is an advent candle to be lit.
I just love the advent calendar. As soon as December starts, I can’t wait to open the first doors day by day. Did you know that, the very first advent calendar was created by a german mister, owner of a lithographic print publishing company, Gerhard Lang in 1908. He remembered that his mother used to make 24 small pockets on a box and put in each pocket a cookie. So he created an advent calendar with 24 pockets, in which 24 Christmas stories were hidden and named it “Munich advent calendar”. So Munich is the birthplace of advent calendar. Other publishers copied his idea with different contents and soon it started to spread over. Unfortunately Mr. Lang had not his idea patented, so that he did not become a rich man.
Here are some different types of advent calendar:
Everytime, when I see christmas tree selling yard, it reminds me of the scene with Phoebe from Friends. Do you remember the scene, how she heavily looks at old christmas trees being sawn and cries out loud? I was happy to find out, that these trees are planted for this special occasion and these plantations have sustainable as well as recycling policy.
“Oh christmas tree, how verdant are your leaves? Not only in summertime, but also in winter…with faithful leaves unchanging”…This german song provides the reason why of all the trees the fir tree is chosen to be Christmas tree in every home. Because of its unchanging colors, it symbolizes the solidity of family. An old tradition recalls that families hang a branch of fir tree from curtain or ceiling earlier.
Most of all, I love that Christmas is also known as festivity of Love. Reunion, reconciliation, forgiveness-those are the next reasons, why I love this time of the year. After all, isn’t it the most peaceful feeling, to let it go, to be peaceful in one’s heart without any anger, rage and hate?I wish you a very blessed Christmas! Make yourself a present: Be true to yourself, fill your heart with Love and Peace, the others will find its place then.