During the 4 weeks of Advent (roughly four weeks prior to Christmas) the Christmas Markets – Weihnachtsmärkte - open their doors.
They originated in German-speaking part of Europe & in the Eastern regions of France in the Late Middle Ages.
By the time November hits in Germany, the days tend to be dreary, rainy and chilly. It gets darker earlier and takes forever to get light in the morning.
Along with November come some fun traditions, especially if you have little ones. You may have noticed the lanterns for sale at the stores. Children celebrate St Martin’s Day in Kindergarten and school by hosting lantern parades. While the holiday is mentioned in our other article, I thought it was a great idea to go into detail here.
A couple weeks before Easter you may start noticing that German bakeries offer little lambs, made from biscuit, a cake very similar to the American pound cake. They are sold glazed or just dusted with confectioner’s sugar and often carry or wear a little flag.
You may have noticed that stores are setting up party items, costumes and streamers. No, Germany is not having a blow out on Halloween costumes, but is preparing the high season of Karneval, Fasching or as Americans may know it, Mardi Grass. You probably didn’t even know that the so called 5th season started all the way back in November, on the 11th of November to be exact, right at 11:11 am. Clubs and avid partiers have since been meeting, planning and working on the highlights of the season. Unless you are member of a Karneval club, you normally don’t sit in through meetings and the important voting of the local Fasching royalty. A Prince pair is elected each year to lead the campaign. They get to attend all the events and parties and dress up in fancy dresses.
One of the most anticipated Christmas traditions every year has to be the Adventskalender or Advent-Calendar. Choosing just the right one, is of the most important things for children as it marks the beginning of the Christmas season for them. We have all heard at least one horror story from our families, of having to run out to get another Advent Calendar at the last minute because one of the youngsters decided to plunder it early, eating it all at once and stores are virtually sold out everywhere after the first of Advent (the fourth Sunday before Christmas).