One special day with two different traditions: England vs. Germany

By Amy Palmer

Christmas is a holiday celebrated by millions from all over the world. It’s a time when families and friends come together to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.

Many countries have different traditions but these traditions share the same values and beliefs of giving presents, dining on a magical feast and most importantly, spending quality times with the ones you love.

 Having been lucky enough to grow up in England and Germany, I get to enjoy two separate traditions. My early childhood was spent in England and with my family being British, we base our Christmas Day on the 25th December. The 24th is Christmas Eve. Nothing particular happens on the 24th apart from the excitement of guessing what treasures lie underneath the tree.

The 25th is the day where we wake up bright and early in the morning, only to rush downstairs and see what Santa Claus has left for us underneath the Christmas tree. After ripping open all of our presents we were to enjoy an immense feast of roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings (optional), a range of vegetables, stuffing and last but not least the glazed turkey. Sitting around the table we then tear open a traditional English cracker. A cracker is a cardboard like tube that is decorated in bright festive colours. Inside each cracker is a paper Christmas hat, a small prize and a joke. Two people then grab either ends of the tube and pull hard and who ever pulls the right end of the tube, wins. Everyone then wears their Christmas hats throughout the meal and read each other the jokes. The jokes are made to be traditionally terrible so that everybody can get a good laugh out of them. After the meal, the family either enjoys a few board games or they see what crap they are playing on the BBC.

My family and I decided that even though we were not living in England, we would still carry on our British traditions. In Germany, Christmas is celebrated just a little bit differently.

The celebratons start a little earlier than in England, as on the 6th of December, they celebrate St. Nicolas Day. The children put their shoes outside of their door on the night of the 5th and early on the 6th morning, the children look to see if either chocolate or coal has been left in their shoes. Chocolate would be left for the good children, where coal would be left for the naughty ones. Normally most children would have chocolate in their shoes, because lets face it, who is that evil to be putting coal in their children’s shoes on the most magical month of the year? In England we do eat a lot of chocolate through the month, but that is normally placed in something called an Advent Calendar, which counts down the days till Christmas, with each day providing a chocolate.

 The next big day of the month, and the most important in the Christmas tradition is the 24th.  Instead of Santa Claus coming to visit the children in their sleeps and delevers them presents is someone called the “Christkind” which translated means, The Christ Child. Before the children open their presents, the parents of the children decorate the Christmas tree in secret, ring a bell and then the children can run into the room and experience the magic of the angels.

Then the feast begins. Some families stick to turkey where as some familes eat fish. It all depends on what the family prefers to offer. Many then either stay at home or attend mass. The 25th is still an important day in the German holiday but it does not share the same value as to the English tradition.

 

Although I’ve lived in Germany for the majority of my life, I couldn’t imagine Christmas any other way then sharing my British traditions with my family. I enjoy both traditions but home is where the heart is and moving away from my early childhood traditions is something that I would never do no matter what country my family and I were living in.

 

 

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