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Christmas

It seemed wrong to post part 2 of my Great Depression blog today, so I’ll hold off on that until January. Just what we need, depression in the midst of January cold.

Many of our Christmas Traditions originated in Germany. The Christmas tree was popularized by Queen Victoria but only because she was German and her family brought it with them when they took over the English throne.

So as they say in Germany, Weihnachten!

  • Silent Night” was composed in Austria in 1818.
  • An Advent wreath, or Adventskranz. Some say it was established in Germany as a Christian custom in the 16th century, and others that it wasn’t invented until the 19th century. If you go by this, credit Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor.
  • Kris Kringle is a corruption Christkindl (“Christ Child”) and is a winged figure dressed in white robes and a golden crown who distributes gifts.
  • Christmas tree pastry, Christbaumgeback, is a white dough that can be molded into shapes and baked for tree decorations.
  • German-American Thomas Nast (1840-1902) who gave us the modern image of Santa Claus (and the animal symbols for both the American Democratic and Republican parties!) in the 1860s. 
  • The day after Christmas Day — der zweite Weihnachtstag, known as Boxing Day in Britain

Merry Christmas to my fellow Victorians! And for more Traditions, check out the History Channel site: here.

http://www.german-way.com/christmas.html
http://www.germanculture.com.ua/library/weekly/aa120298a.htm
http://www.history.com/content/christmas
http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=61270&display_order=5&mini_id=1290
http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=61268&display_order=4&mini_id=1290

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3 Comments

  1. Great post, Isabel! My family’s of mixed Irish and German descent and the church we belong to was founded by German immigrants. I remember singing Silent Night in the original German when I sang in the school choir.

  2. Paisley Kirkpatrick says:

    One of my fondest memories from when I was a child in elementary school was a German lady named Hilda who came into our classroom and taught us to sing O Christmas Tree in German. I think of her every year when I put the tree up. AND she was Jewish….and the most huggable woman a child could meet.

  3. Isabel Roman says:

    I tried to learn O Tannenbaum but that’s as far as I get in German. Great at it in English, since it’s a Christmas song and all. German…not so much. And I AM German! But like 5th generation. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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