Today marks the official start of the Advent season in Germany. Die Adventszeit hat begonnen. It is a time that is especially exciting for children as der Weihnachtsabend – Christmas Eve is now less than a month away.
There are quite some traditions around the Adventszeit that help Germans to get in the mood for Weihnachten – Christmas, so let’s take a look at some in this post.
Adventskranz (m) = Advent wreath
You could call the Adventskranz the smaller brother of the Weihnachtsbaum (m) = Christmas Tree. Usually made out of Tannenzweige (m, pl) = fir sprigs and decorated with Schleifen (f, pl) = bows and Tannenzapfen (m, pl) = fir cones, the Adventskranz features vier Kerzen (f, pl) = four candles. Every Adventssonntag (m) = Sunday in Advent one candle will be lit until all four will be burning just before Christmas.
The four Sundays in Advent Season are called Erster Advent, Zweiter Advent, Dritter Advent and Vierter Advent. You can review the Ordinalzahlen here.
There is also a short poem German young children learn and usually have to perform in front of the gathered family.
Advent, Advent ein Lichtlein brennt.
Erst eins, dann zwei,
dann drei, dann vier,
dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür.
Cheeky children might also add
Und wenn das fünfte Lichtlein brennt,
dann hast du Weihnachten verpennt!
verpennen (colloq.) = to oversleep
Adventskalender (m) = Advent calendar
Especially beloved by German children, the Adventskalender helps them to wait until Christmas is finally here. Every day they can open one of twentyfour Türchen (n) = little door in the Adventskalender and find a piece of chocolate or, depending on the make, small toys and other gifts.
Barbarazweig (m) = Barbara’s branch
On the fourth of December (Saint Barbara’s day) people cut a branch from a Kirschbaum (m) = cherry tree and take it inside. It will usually begin to bloom around Christmas, bringing the family good luck and an outlook on the coming Frühling (m) = spring.
What are traditions in your country in the Adventszeit? Leave them in the comments below or share them with me on Facebook or Twitter!