Christmas is a holiday many people around the world celebrate. As you are probably aware, every country seems to have its own traditions when it comes to this holiday. Over in Germany, the locals take their Christmas traditions very seriously. Yes, they spend time with family and friends. Yes, they make Christmas feasts. And yes, they have special celebrations. However, they have many other traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Taking a Christmas market river cruise in Germany with your family is one of the best ways to learn about that country’s local traditions.
Advent wreaths are made exactly four Sundays prior to Christmas in Germany. The locals make these wreaths out of fir or pine branches. Four candles are always placed in the center of the wreaths.
German families will light one of the candles on each Sunday leading up to Christmas.
Follow the instructions here to make your own advent wreath this year.
Advent calendars are also popular in Germany. One flap on the calendar is opened every day to reveal a Christmas scene.
Another Christmas tradition happens on the evening of December 5th when all the children in Germany leave their clean and polished boots outside their door before they fall asleep. St. Nicholas then fills those boots with candy, nuts, and small gifts. The kids find these gifts in the morning when they wake up and race to find their shoes.
The holiday celebrations continue until January 6th in Germany. This is the religious day known as the Three Kings Festival. The religious feast that day is called Epiphany.
On this day, it is common for the kids to dress up as the Magi. They then go from house to house, as they sing songs.
Obviously, your river cruise in Germany will include multiple Christmas markets during the holiday season. Christmas markets are popular in Germany, as well as throughout Europe.
Germany was actually one of the first countries to have Christmas markets. There are a few thousand Christmas markets held in Germany every year. Don’t worry, you won’t be visiting them all during your river cruise. However, you will be spending time at some of the best Christmas markets in Germany!
Your family will love the twinkling lights. Roasting chestnuts. Mulled wine. And visits from St. Nicholas himself at each market you visit. This is probably the one Christmas tradition in Germany you will embrace the most during your family vacation.
Christmas angels are also called weihnachtsengel in Germany. These Christmas ornaments are one of the best traditions in the country. The Christmas angels are placed on the trees, as well as all around the house during the holiday season.
These ornaments are usually made from wood. You will find thousands of them at all the Christmas markets you visit during your river cruise.
You cannot celebrate Christmas in Germany and not eat any Christmas stollen. This cake is made from flour mixed with different fruits, nuts, and spices. Powdered sugar is then sprinkled over the top. There is a massive Christmas stollen festival held in Dresden each year.
You can make your own Christmas stollen with your family this year. Simply follow this recipe.
Another sweet tradition in Germany is lebkuchen. It is gingerbread in the shape of a heart. You may find lebkuchen with holiday messages written on them at the markets.
The most popular Christmas song in Germany is Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! This song was first played in a small church in Austria back in 1818. You may know this song’s English name is Silent Night.
Christmas pyramids are one of the oldest traditions in Germany. These wooden pyramids have a nativity scene with angels. The carousel part of the pyramid is surrounded by candles. When those candles are lit, they trigger the carousel to spin.
Christmas trees have been popular in Germany since the 16th century. Back then, small fir trees were decorated on December 24th. The Germans used nuts, apples, and paper flowers as their decorations.
This tradition has evolved over the years. Nowadays, not every German family waits until Christmas Eve to decorate their tree. You will also find elaborately decorated Christmas trees in towns around the country, as well as at the numerous Christmas markets.
These are the Christmas traditions your family will want to embrace during a Christmas market river cruise in Germany. You will make many memories with your family during this holiday cruise. Let me make your holiday season magical by booking this amazing river cruise for your family.
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