Christmas Adventures: Embracing Advent – German Style! (part three)

Blimey!  This has been a hectic two week lead-up to our first official count down to Christmas…making, baking, researching (and yet more researching!), trying desperately to pronounce German words (and failing miserably!!) but finally, yes finally, we are ready for Advent 🙂

So as most of us are aware, Advent marks the beginning of the lead-up to Christmas…a traditional symbol, the  Adventskranz (Advent wreath) is typically circular shape made out of evergreen shrubbery and holds four candles, each one representing  the four Sundays leading up to Christmas….

Our homemade Adventskranz:

I simply used a large Christmassy red plate, pine branches, four candles, my ooooh so beautiful ribbon, some left over spray-painted pine cones and I made some plaster of Paris hearts and spray-painted them too!!

“The Advent wreath has been attributed religious and elemental significance. The tradition of a ring of light existed among the Germanic tribes many centuries before the celebration of Advent. It is believed that fewer candles were lit with each progressive lighting to represent the shortening of the days until the solstice, at which time the Julfest celebrated the return of light. (Incidentally, the English word yule is a cognate with the Germanic Jul).”

Interestingly the actual word Advent originates from medieval Latin word “adventus”  meaning “arrival”!

In our household (as I am sure in many households across the world) we also mark the beginning of Advent by unveiling our Adventskalender (Advent Calendar)…somehow Christmas fairies just know that on the 30th Novemeber that our very special Advent Calendar has to be released from it’s box and hung complete with little treats!

Did you know that the Advent Calendar actually originated in Germany? I certainly didn’t! 😉  It was designed to get children into the Christmas spirit and involved with the festivities!  Adventskalender are typically made out of cardboard with 24 windows which open up to reveal Christmas scenes. – The first printed Adventskalender was made in Munich 1903.  However, looking back through time before beautiful printed calenders, families would use chalk to mark the walls as a way of counting down to Christmas.

Our house has been filled with all the wonderful aspects of the season this past week…we have been playing Christmas carols, made home-made decorations and of course filling our house with the delicious smells of Stollen baking in the kitchen.  This coming weekend Livvy and I shall be baking Gingerbread (another very German must have for Christmas!) …. One of the best things about this time of the year is the wonderful scents wafting out of the kitchen 🙂

I have to say though, I am itching to get the house looking all Christmassy!!  We shall be waiting to put up our Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) until the traditional German date of 24th December,  but Livvy  and I simply can not wait that long to decorate the rest of the house… when we light our first Advent candle on Sunday we shall adorn our house with our other little Christmas bits ‘n’ bobs and let the magic of this wonderful season fill our home 🙂

Next part….Sankt Nikolaus…good old St Nik….will he leave sweeties in Livvy’s shoes for being a good girl or a green stick for being not so good?  We shall find out on the 6th December 🙂

Reference:

http://www.vistawide.com/german/christmas/german_christmas_traditions.htm

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2 responses to “Christmas Adventures: Embracing Advent – German Style! (part three)

  1. Fabulous post & looking forward to the next part already 🙂 Mmmmm
    I wonder what St Nik will leave for Livvy 😉

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