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Adventskalender (Advent Calendar)

An Advent calendar is a picture with 24 numbered windows cut in it, one for each of the days before Christmas. Behind each window is a little surprise. Starting December 1st, you open a window each day until Christmas.

  • Son
  • Mon
  • Die
  • Mit
  • Don
  • Fre
  • Sam

First Sunday in Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is called the "Green Sunday". The Advent season is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is also the expectation and impatient waiting for Christmas, which is symbolized by calendars, wreaths, and houses. Advent is also the beginning of the calendar year for churches.


Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets)

Christmas Markets are huge, outdoor markets filled with stands. Each stand sells something different like decorations, gifts, and all kinds of good things to eat and drink. The colorful fairs spring up in most towns and cities for the four-week Advent season leading up to Christmas Eve.


Adventskranz (Advent wreath)

The symbol of Advent is the Advent wreath. It is usually placed on the dining room table and decorated with red ribbons and four candles. One more candle is lit on each Sunday before Christmas.

Adventssterne (Advent star)

The Advent star is a special form of Advent calendar. Twenty four little stars are attached to a big six-pointed star. A little star is removed every day until on Christmas Eve the unadorned large star hangs on the wall as a symbol of the light associated with the days to come.

Adventhaus, Lebkuchenhaus (Advent gingerbread house)

The house is built by the father for the children. The house has four little multi-colored windows, behind which candles are lit. Another window is opened every night and every Sunday.


9 things to know if you're visiting Germany in December

If you're travelling to (or around) Germany this December, here are a few key things to keep in mind, from Covid restrictions - or lack thereof - to the best Christmas cookies to scoff down guilt-free.

8 unmissable events in Germany this December

From the world's biggest advent calendar to a parade of monsters - here are Germany's must-visit events for December 2022.


Brief an das Christkind (letter to Christ Child)

Many German children send letters to Baby Jesus and regional versions of Father Christmas. Over 80,000 will arrive in the Christmas sorting office in Himmelstadt, Bavaria. These are addressed to the Christkind (Christ Child), who traditionally brings gifts to children in southern Germany on December 24. Each one gets a reply in an envelope bearing a special stamp and of course the postmark showing where it was sent from.

Elsewhere in Germany, requests are made to the Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas) or to St Nicholas, who delivers his gifts on December 6. Seven special Christmas post offices receive the letters - whose numbers just keep growing. Most children send their Christmas wish lists. Few seem to beat about the bush in stating their preferences. Others write with more personal problems such as requests for help, for sick relatives or from irritating siblings. These too receive individual replies.


Christmas markets 2022

After 2 years of cancelled and restricted Germany Christmas markets, 2022 returns to the famed Christmas markets Germany is known for.


Weihnachtsgetränke (Christmas beverages)

BockbierBockbier: special beer, which was originally made for the return of spring, but is now also brewed at Christmas time

GlueweinGlühwein: white wine, which is sweetened with cinnamon and then heated


Second Sunday in Advent

The second Sunday of Advent is called the "Copper Sunday". The Advent season is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is also the expectation and impatient waiting for Christmas, which is symbolized by calendars, wreaths, and houses. Advent is also the beginning of the calendar year for churches.

Sankt Barbarastag (St. Barbara’s Day)

Barbara, the daughter of the rich merchant Dioscuros, grew up in Nikomedia (today's Izmet, Turkey). In order to retain her innocence, Barbara's father locked her up during his absence, in a tower with only two windows. When Dioscuros returned from his journey, he found the third window in the tower. Barbara was baptized by a priest disguised as a physician, and she ordered to make the third window as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.

As it was done against her father's will, Barbara was accused, tortured and condemned to death. When she was locked into the dungeon, a branch of cherry tree had gotten caught in her dress. Barbara watered it with the water from her drinking cup, and on the day of her execution, the branch bloomed. From this comes the "Barbarazweig," the custom of bringing branches into the house on December 4 to bloom on Christmas. In some areas St. Barbara's is also the day to bake Kletzenbrot (a fruit cake).


Nikolausabend (Nicholas Eve)

December 6 marks St. Nicholas Day - a European celebration in which Saint Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus) brings gifts to children who have been good. On the night of December 5, children traditionally place their tallest winter boots outside their front door. As German legend holds, St. Nicholas visits childrens' homes and fills their boots with presents and treats - if they've been good, that is. Children who have misbehaved might wake up to find their boots filled with tree branches instead. Sometimes, St. Nicholas (in costume) comes to children in person, calling out their names and handing them gifts from his sack.


Nikolaustag (St. Nicholas Day)

St. Nicholas Day is a popular occasion for children in many parts of Europe because children usually receive gifts on this day. Some European cities recognize St. Nicholas as the patron saint and celebrate with different activities such as gift-giving, parades, feasts and festivals.


Gabenbringer Süddeutschland (gift bringers South Germany)

Nikolaus / Grampus / Krampus / Knecht Ruprecht / Belznickel

Descriptions and photos from Wikipedia.

Folklore provides several different gift bringers during the Christmas season.

  • Nikolaus
  • Nikolaus is regarded as a pre-Christmas messenger, who examines a youngster's behavior. He brings along a book of sins in which all the names of bad children are written.
  • Knecht Ruprecht, Nikolaus' helper, carries a sack filled with presents and a birch rod or stick. The rod is for all the children who have been naughty that year. The presents are for all thechildren who have been good.
  • Knecht Ruprecht
  • Krampus
  • Krampus, usually described as a 7-foot-tall beast-like, demonic figure with long goats' horns and straggly hair, comes to capture naughty children and carries them off in a sack to his mountain lair, according to Austian tradition. Stories of the Krampus talk of him coming out to punish bad children around the eve of St. Nicholas' day.
  • Belznickel is another sinister character, threatening children who don't behave with a switch-thrashing, rattling his chains, and committing acts of vandalism, harassment, or even some light home invasions.
  • Belznickel

Gabenbringer Norddeutschland (gift bringers North Germany)

Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas)

Descriptions and photos from Wikipedia.

  • Father Christmas
  • In Northern Germany. the Weihnachtsmann brings presents for the good children and a stick for those whose behaviour was not so good.

Weihnachtsschmucke (Christmas decorations)


mehrere Weihnachtsgebäcke (More Christmas pastries)

Descriptions and photos from Wikipedia.

  • Marzipan
  • Marzipan: a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal (ground almonds), sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. It is often made into sweets; common uses are chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday, wedding cakes and Christmas cakes.
  • Springerle: a type of German biscuit with an embossed design made by pressing a mold onto rolled dough and allowing the impression to dry before baking. This preserves the detail of the surface pattern.
  • Springerle
  • Baumkuchen
  • Baumkuchen: a German variety of spit cake. It is a traditional pastry of many European countries throughout. The characteristic rings that when sliced resemble tree rings, and give the cake its German name, Baumkuchen, which literally translates to "tree cake."

Third Sunday in Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is called the "Silver Sunday". The Advent season is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is also the expectation and impatient waiting for Christmas, which is symbolized by calendars, wreaths, and houses. Advent is also the beginning of the calendar year for churches.


(Christmas word search)

There are many words that are associated with the Advent season; holidays, celebrations, foods, characters, activities, etc. We've have combined 30 of these words into a word search game. Give it a try.


Sankt Luciastag (St. Lucia’s Day)

December 13 is the day that Swedes and others all over the world honor the legend of Saint Lucia. For many, many years Lucia has brought faith, hope, and a reason to believe in good things to come. Her legend stems from Syracuse on the island of Sicily. It is thought that during a time when the rulers of the land did not look favorably upon Christianity, a woman named Lucia had devoted her life to God and the poor. She gave her entire dowry to the poor, and the man she was to marry was very upset by this. Lucia was put on trial, refused to renounce her Christian beliefs and was declared a witch. She was to be burned at the stake but when the guards tried to light the fire it would not light. Ultimately, she was stabbed.


Weihnachtsgrüße (Christmas greetings)

Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Merry Christmas!
Fröhe Weihnachten!
Merry Christmas!
Die besten Wünsche für ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!
Best wishes for a happy holiday season!
Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest!
I wish you a happy holiday season!
Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest!
A blessed holiday season!
Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße!
My most sincere Christmas greetings!

✽ - most popular Christmas greetings.


Weihnachtslieder (Christmas songs)

"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" (Silent Night)

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht! Alles schläft, einsam wacht
nur das traute hochheilige Paar; holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh’! Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh’!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht! Hirten erst kund gemacht!
Durch der Engel Hallelujah--tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ der Retter ist da, Christ der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht! Gottes Sohn, oh wie lacht.
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund, da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’,
Christ, in deiner Geburt, Christ, in deiner Geburt!

"O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum" (O Christmas Tree)

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum
wie grün sind Deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Weihnachtszeit,
nein, auch im Winter wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie grün sind Deine Blätter.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
du kannst uns sehr gefallen.
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit,
ein Baum von Dir mich hocherfreut.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren.
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Das soll Dein Kleid mich lehren.

"Rudolf mit rotem Näschen" (Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer)

Rudolf mit rotem Näschen
Hatte eine Lampe rot,
Und wer sie je gesehen,
Der wird sagen, daß sie loht.

Alle die andern Hirschlein
Lachten oft und schalten ihn,
Sie ließen den armen Rudolf
Nie auf ihren Spielplatz gehn.

Als in einer Nebelnacht
Christkind kam und sagt:
Rudolf mir der Nas, die blüht,
Bist du’s, der den Schlitten zieht?

Und wie Hirsch’ ihn liebten
Als sie machten laut: Juche!
Rudolf mit rotem Näschen,
Wirst nun leben erwiglich.


Weihnachtswortschatz (German Christmas Vocabulary, German to English)

die Weihnachtszeit
Christmas season
der Gruß, die Grüße
der Weihnachtsgruß, die Weihnachtsgrüße
Christmas greeting

Tage zur Weihnachtszeit (Days)

St. Nicholaus Day
Heiliger Abend
Christmas Eve
der erste Weihnachtstag
First Christmas Day
der zweite Weihnachtstag
Second Christmas Day
zwölf Heilige Abende
12 Holy Nights
New Years Eve
New Years Day
Epiphany, Festival of 3 Kings

Weihnachtsleute (Christmas Figures)

  • Nikolaus
  • Christkind
  • Christkindl
  • Kriss Kringle
  • Weihnachtsmann
  • Knecht Ruprecht
  • Grampus, Krampus
  • Pelznickel
  • der heilige Geist

Weihnachtsgedicht (Christmas poem)

"Als der Nikolaus kam" ("The Night Before Christmas")

In der Nacht vor dem Christfest, da regte im Haus
sich niemand und nichts, nicht mal eine Maus.
Die Strümpfe, die hingen paarweis am Kamin
und warteten drauf, daß Sankt Niklas erschien.
Die Kinder lagen gekuschelt im Bett
und träumten vom Äpfel- und Nüsseballett.

Die Mutter schlief tief, und auch ich schlief brav,
wie die Murmeltiere im Winterschlaf,
als draußen vorm Hause ein Lärm losbrach,
daß ich aufsprang und dachte: Siehst rasch einmal nach!
Ich rannte zum Fenster und, fast noch im Lauf,
stieß ich die knarrenden Läden auf.

Es hatte geschneit, und der Mondschein lag
so silbern auf allem, als sei's heller Tag.
Acht winzige Renntierchen kamen gerannt,
vor einen ganz, ganz kleinen Schlitten gespannt!
Auf dem Bock saß ein Kutscher, so alt und so klein,
daß ich wußte, das kann nur der Nikolaus sein!

Die Renntiere kamen daher wie der Wind,
und der Alte, der pfiff, und er rief laut: "Geschwind!
Renn, Renner! Tanz, Tänzer! Flieg, fliegende Hitz'!
Hui, Sternschnupp'! Hui, Liebling! Hui, Donner und Blitz!
Die Veranda hinauf und die Hauswand hinan!
Immer fort mit euch! Fort mit euch! Hui, mein Gespann!"

Wie das Laub, das der Herbststurm die Straßen lang fegt
und, steht was im Weg, in den Himmel hoch trägt,
so trug es den Schlitten hin auf unser Haus
samt dem Spielzeug und samt dem Sankt Nikolaus!
Kaum war das geschehen, vernahm ich schon schwach
das Stampfen der zierlichen Hufe vom Dach.

Dann wollt' ich die Fensterläden zuzieh'n,
da plumpste der Nikolaus in den Kamin!
Sein Rock war aus Pelzwerk, vom Kopf bis zum Fuß.
Jetzt klebte er freilich voll Asche und Ruß.
Sein Bündel trug Nikolaus huckepack,
so wie die Hausierer bei uns ihren Sack.

wei Grübchen, wie lustig! Wie blitzte sein Blick!
Die Bäckchen zartrosa, die Nas' rot und dick!
Der Bart war schneeweiß, und der drollige Mund
sah aus wie gemalt, so klein und halbrund.
Im Munde, da qualmte ein Pfeifenkopf,
und der Rauch, der umwand wie ein Kranz seinen Schopf.

Ich lachte hell, wie er so vor mir stand,
ein rundlicher Zwerg aus dem Elfenland.
Er schaute mich an und schnitt ein Gesicht,
als wollte er sagen: "Nun, fürchte dich nicht!"
Das Spielzeug stopfte er, eifrig und stumm,
in die Strümpfe, war fertig, drehte sich um,
hob den Finger zur Nase, nickte mir zu,
kroch in den Kamin und war fort im Nu!

In den Schlitten sprang er und pfiff dem Gespann,
da flogen sie schon über Täler und Tann.
Doch ich hört' ihn noch rufen, von fern klang es sacht:
"Frohe Weihnachten allen, - und allen gut' Nacht!"


Fourth Sunday in Advent

The fourth Sunday of Advent is called the "Golden Sunday". The Advent season is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is also the expectation and impatient waiting for Christmas, which is symbolized by calendars, wreaths, and houses. Advent is also the beginning of the calendar year for churches.

Hanukkah - Festival of Lights

Hanukkah MenorahHanukkah is an 8-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the fmal night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves is forbidden.


Weihnachtsgebäcke (Christmas pastries)

Descriptions and photos from Wikipedia.

  • Stollen
  • Stollen: a fruit bread containing dried fruit and often covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar. The bread is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German bread usually eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen.
  • Lebkuchen: a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread. The forerunner of today's Lebkuchen was called the "honey cake", and its history can be traced back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. They believed that honey, the only sweetener widely available to them, was a gift of the deities and had magical and healing powers. Honey cakes were also worn as a talisman in battle or as protection against evil spirits.
  • Lebkuchen

Weihnachtskarten (Christmas cards)

The Christmas card has established itself in Germany as in many other countries. Such greetings as "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" save the writer work. Christmas card designs are well-known: a snow-covered mountain landscape, a lit candle on a Chnstmas tree, the birth of Christ, the adoration of the shepherds, and the Three Wise Men. Post-card size aquarelles and drawings, devoted to either secular or religious themes, are also very popular. Fir trees in the snow are just as indispensable as the bell in the church tower.


Sankt Thomasfest (St. Thomas Feast Day)

The feast of St. Thomas. December 21. is the shortest day of the year. Since it ts also the longest night of the year, age-old superstitions have grown up around this night when "spirits" are abroad. In many regions of Old Bavaria, the people try to foretell the future by means of various quaint pract1ces, such as reading the designs made by molten lead poured into water. On this day, the women bake a special Christmas bread called "Kletzenbrot," made of nuts and figs and dried pears or "Kletzen".

Anfang des Winters (First Day of Winter)

Bundle up! German winters are cold, with temperatures often dropping below 0°F, which in turn results in some great winter sport and skiing areas in Germany, especially in higher German regions such as the Bavarian Alps. Other parts of Germany are often blessed with a white Christmas as well, but there is no guarantee for snow: German winters can be unpredictable, and you should always be prepared for rain.


Tannenbaum (Christmas tree)

The connection between the Christmas tree and the pre-Christian use of green branclies and lights for the religious cult of winter has often been maintained, but it has never been proven. The connection of the evergreen fit tree (earlier the box tree w'as also used) with candles can be traced back to early 17th century Alsace. Then in the course of the 19th century this custom spread over all of Germany and over great sections of the world. Today both the Christmas tree and the Christmas presents are an intrinsic part of every German family's Christmas. Artificial Christmas trees and branches of Mistletoe as substitutes for the real ones are rarely found in German homes.


Christkind (Christ Child)

South of the river Main, gifts are still brought by the Christ Child, who very, very seldom ever appears. He does not even make an appearance on Christmas Eve despite frequent mention of his name between St. Nicholas' Day and Christmas. According to mothers, the Christ Child is omnipresent but never to be seen. In just a few areas in the Hunsruck, along the Nahe, in the Palatinate, and in distant Lausitz, the Christ Child does, however, go through the village on Christmas Eve. He enters houses where people have previously requested this, and distributes presents in the same way as St. Nicholas.

Bescherung (gift exchange)

Gift giving usually happens on Christmas Eve in Germany. In most homes some members attend a church service called "Cluistmesse", where the children of the Parish portray the Cluistmas story, and, when everyone is home again the Bescherung gets underway.

Krippe (manger scene)

The manger is the model for the Christmas crib or cradle. It entails more than the Son of God's first earthly resting place. It involves the stable in Bethlehem and the animals, traditionally viewed as being between man and creation. It also involves the shepherds who came rushing from the fields when Angels told them of the birth of Christ. And it involves the Three Wise Kings from the East, guided by the star. The Christmas crib developed out of all these elements.


Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve)

Today in Germany, many people travel to spend the late afternoon and evening with family members on Christmas Eve. Many people decorate a Christmas tree and some attend midnight mass. Midnight mass is a church service that traditionally starts late in the evening but now often starts earlier in the evening to allow whole families to attend.

Later in the evening, many families open their Christmas presents that were placed under the Christmas tree. In many Protestant families, children are told that Father Christmas or Santa Claus brought the presents. In many Catholic families, they are told that the Christ Child gave the presents. A traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of carp (a type of fish), potato salad, boiled potatoes, cucumber salad and lemon slices.


Der Erste Weihnachtstag (First Christmas Day)

People generally spend Christmas Day with family members or close friends. Some attend church services and many sing traditional Christmas carols. A large meal is traditionally eaten in the afternoon or early evening. Typical dishes include:

  • Roast goose or duck stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions or prunes.
  • Red cabbage with onions and apple.
  • Boiled potatoes.
  • Dumplings.

People also eat turkey, beef, venison or wild boar in some parts of Germany.


der zweite Weihnachtstag (Second Christmas Day)

Second Christmas Day is on December 26. Church services are held but not to the extent that they used to be, there are well wishing messages from public figures and public services, shops and public attractions will be operating on different hours. It is a time for socializing with friends and family. The themes and activities of the day are very similar to Christmas day itself, although they may incorporate a wider network of people.


zwölf heilige Abende (12 Holy Nights)

This is the period between Christmas (12/25) and Epiphany (1/6). This period of time is a legal holiday in Bayern and Baden-Württemberg.


Top 10 Ski Resorts


  1. Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  2. Jungholz / Oberammergau
  3. Feldberg / Schwarzwald
  4. Lenggries-Wegscheid
  5. Ofterschwang-Gunzerried / Oberallgäu
  6. Arber / Bayerischer Wald
  7. Oberstdorf -Nebelhorn / Allgäu
  8. Oberstdorf-Fellhorn-Kanzelwand / Allgäu
  9. Reit im Winkl / Bayern
  10. Balderschwang / Oberallgäu / Bayern

  1. Kitzbühel / Tyrol
  2. St. Anton am Arlberg
  3. Saalbach Hinterglemm
  4. Sölden / Ötztal
  5. Ischgl
  6. Flachau / Salzburg
  7. Mayrhofen / Zillertal
  8. Kaprun / Salzburg
  9. Zell am See / Salzburg
  10. Lech am Arlberg

Sternsinger (Star Singers)

Groups of children go from house to house dressed as the 3 wise men between December 27 and January 6. They knock on the door of each house and sing hymns about Jesus' birth and the Magi’s visit. If the door is opened, they ask for money for a specific charity, and often they receive candy and treats (Streich oder Süßigkeit or Heischegänge, trick-or-treating)


"der 90. Geburtstag" ("Dinner for One")

This comedy sketch was written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language, with a short introduction in German. It is a 18-minute single-take black-and-white recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. This comedy sketch went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever. The program has become an integral component of the New Year's Eve schedule of several German television stations.


Silvesterabend (New Year's Eve)

New Years Eve, which is on the night of December 31, is the last day of the year and serves as an occasion for public and private parties in Germany. It is also a time to look back at the past year and forward to the new one. In the evening, German television broadcasts the same sketches and short films every year.

The name (Silvester or Sylvester) is derived from Pope Silvester I (314—335, who is the Roman-Catholic saint of December 31. He, according to legend, is the man who healed from leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The last night of the year has always been the night of fools and a funny good time.


Neujahrstag (New Years Day)

Many people begin celebrating the end of the old year and the start of the new one at midnight. These celebrations include public concerts, parties, and fireworks and may last into the early hours of January 1. Many people spend the remainder of the day quietly, but some organize a communal lunch or evening meal with friends or family.

Most common greetings and toasts to the New Year are:

  • Alles Gute im neuen Jahr! (I wish you well in the New Year!)
  • Ein glückliches neues Jahr! (Happy New Year!)
  • Ein gutes und gesegnetes neues Jahr! (A good and blessed New Year!)
  • Gesundes neues Jahr! (Have a healthy new year!)
  • Guten Rutsch! (Have a good slide or beginning into the new year!)
  • Prosit Neujahr! (Happy New Year!)
  • Prost Neujahr! (Cheers to the New Year!)
  • Viel Glück im Neuen Jahr! (Good luck in the New Year!)

Ski Jumping in Garmisch

When the New Year arrives, many Germans turn to their television sets to watch one of their favorite winter sports: ski jumping. The Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzentournee) always takes place at the turn of the year - a ski jumping competition that is held over the course of about a week in four different locations. Typically, the tournament takes place in Oberstdorf (Germany), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria) and Bischofshofen (Austria) and includes 50 competitors.


New Year's Superstitions and Beliefs

  1. Orakelbräuche: (customs for predicting future events)
    • Hochzeitsorakel: (wedding oracles)
    • Bleigießen: (lead-pouring and interpreting resulting figures)
    • Schuhwerfen: (shoe throwing)
    • Zwiebelkalender: (onion calendar)
    • Bibelstechen: (Bible poking, read the Bible)
    • Gummibären: (gummy bears)
    • Neujahrsvorsätze: (New Year's resolutions)
    • Tage der Heiligen Nächte: (days of 12 Holy Nights)
  2. Glückssymbole: (symbols of luck)
    • Pendelbewegung: (swinging a pendulous object)
    • Schornsteinfeger: (chimney sweeps)
    • Man soll bestimmte Speisen essen: (eating certain animals and fish)
    • Karten spielen und Würfel spielen: (play cards and roll the dice)
    • Totengeister: ("spirits of the dead")

More New Year's Superstitions and Beliefs

  1. Geräusche, Krach machen: (make some noise)

Wunderabend (Night of Miracles or Twelfth Night)

Today is the last of the 12 nights or days of Christmas. Twelfth Night is a festival, in some branches of Christianity, marking the coming of Epiphany. Different traditions mark date of Twelfth Night on either 5th or 6th of January. Those who mark Twelfth Night on the 5th refer to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the 3 wise men visited baby Jesus. Other churches say the Twelfth Night concludes the 12 days of Christmas.


Dreikönigsfest (Festival of the 3 Kings, Epiphany)

Epiphany is a Christian festival, which is annually celebrated in Germany on January 6 to mark the Magi’s (or 3 wise men’s) visit to baby Jesus. It is also known as the Festival of the Three Kings, Epiphanie, Epiphanias, or Dreikönigsfest, Heilige drei Könige, and Erscheinung des Herrn in German.

Epiphany is also the end of the Weihnachtzeit or Christmas season. January 6 is a public holiday in the German states of Bayern (Bavaria), Baden-Würtemberg, and Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt); Austria; and 3 cantons of Switzerland, as well as parts of Graubünden.