In Germany, the Christmas season traditionally begins on the first Sunday of Advent. The air will be filled with the wonderful Christmas aroma, because baked treats such as Stollen (German Christmas fruit cake) and Plätzchen (Christmas cookies) are traditionally prepared during this time. As well as the traditional Christmas decorations like nativity scenes, gingerbread houses, Advent wreaths and plenty of lights and candles adorn the streets and homes. To give you an insight into our brand’s home country, we have prepared a Christmas series, detailing the traditions, recipes and customs behind one of the most celebrated season, not just in Germany but around the world.
Advent: in preparation and anticipation for Christmas
A big part of Christmas traditions in Germany is Advent. It was derived from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning arrival. In commemoration of the First coming of Christ at Christmas. It begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas. This first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and for this year it falls on the 27th of November. Around this time, people will start to decorate their homes and prepare Christmas treats for the upcoming celebrations.
The Advent is popularly accompanied with symbolism and traditions such as the Advent wreath and the Advent calendar. The Advent wreath is believed to be founded in the 19th century as a way to help the children count the days until Christmas. It customarily holds four candles which are lit, one after another. On the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle is lighted up, on the second Sunday of Advent, the first and the second candle… And by the fourth Sunday, all four candles are lighted up. Usually, the “new” candle is lit during a family brunch/lunch on Sunday, encouraging quality time with families and loved ones.
Another custom during this season is a special calendar called the Advent calendar. It is mostly used in anticipation of Christmas and is given to families, friends and loved ones. The Advent calendar comes in different types and designs, usually in form of small boxes or specially decorated socks which are 24 in numbers and include small gifts and treats. Another popular type, the chocolate Advent calendar, can be found in every supermarket in a wide choice of different chocolate brands. Similarly to the chocolate advent calendar, variations including tea or cosmetics are available. The recipient of the calendar will have to open one box each day starting the 1st of December, leading up to the Christmas Eve on the 24th of December.
Weihnachtsmarkt: Christmas markets in Germany
Christmas markets are a very popular destination during this season. It starts at the beginning of Advent and lasts until Christmas. Every town in Germany will surely have one, with famous attractions such as the Nativity scene, huge Christmas trees and Christmas pyramids. And of course different stalls selling special Christmas cookies, bratwurst, gingerbread, special Christmas chocolates, roasted almonds and other Christmas treats. There’s always merriment in form of music, sometimes even a choir singing Christmas carols or live bands playing Christmas songs. For most of the visitors, the special highlight is the most popular drink this season, the Gluhwein (mulled wine) which comes in red, white and non-alcoholic. In the evenings, it has become a tradition to visit the market to meet friends and have a cup of Gluhwein all together.
Christmas cookies and other baked goods
Advent is also the time where families start to dig their secret and passed-on specialty recipes. Baking different sorts of Christmas cookies together with the family is one of the highlights of the season. Some of the famous baked cookies and treats are gingerbread cookies, Stollen (Christmas fruit cake) and…in one of our next articles we will share with you the recipe of another popular type of Christmas cookies.
Christmas Celebration in Malaysia
Regardless of religion, Malaysians do celebrate the Christmas season by getting together with families and friends. And for the spirit of giving, some would even organize a secret Santa to exchange gifts with each other. Christmas is not exclusively for Christians in Malaysia but it’s celebrated by all in their own way without disrespecting their own beliefs.
Malls everywhere will definitely be adorned with Christmas decorations and fancy Christmas lights. Which is why it’s also a good time to shop since there will be year-end sales everywhere. So if you’re now in the Christmas mood and wondering where to go in Malaysia, here are some tips for you: Experience Winter Wonderland at iCity’s Snowalk and have a snowy day with the little ones. Another treat for the kids is to bring them to LEGOLAND where they have a Christmas tree and Santa Claus made from LEGO bricks. And of course, the most popular place in Malaysia to visit during this season is Cameron Highlands. It has a colder climate which may closely resemble the cold Christmas Eve in Western countries.
In lieu of the season’s festivities, we will be posting up articles relating to Christmas celebration. We will also be sharing recipes, DIYs and gift guide in the next articles, so stay tuned.