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die zwölf heilige Abende (12 Holy Nights)

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  • Was sind die zwölf heiligen Abende? (What are the 12 Holy Nights?)
    • It is the period between Christmas (12/25) and Epiphany (1/6).
      1. der erste Weihnachtstag, der 25. Dezember (First Christmas Day)
      2. der zweite Weihnachtstag, der 26. Dezember (Second Christmas Day)
      3. Silvesterabend, Silvester, der 31. Dezember (New Years Eve)
      4. Neujahrstag, der 1. Januar (New Years Day)
      5. Wunderabend, der 5. Januar (Night of Miracles)
      6. Dreikönigsfest, der 6. Januar (Epiphany, Festival of the 3 Kings)
    • This period of time is a legal holiday in Bayern and Baden-Württemberg.
    • Beschreibung (description)
      1. It’s a contrast of old customs (legends and superstitions) vs. the new custom of taking a skiing vacation or attending concerts (non-skiers).
    • Ursprung (origin)
      1. Time of Christmas closely coincides with that of the winter solstice—a time when demonical forces are considered by many to be particularly active and powerful. Spirits of the darkness also appear, which are of pagan origin and sometimes predominate over the figures of life.
      2. When the 12 Rauhnächte (nights when spirits walk) became associated with the 12 days of Christmas, they were days outside of time.
        • All types of supernatural events were possible.
        • Spirits of all sorts charged through the night, either showing the horror of winter or chasing it away.
        • These figures still emerge in the Alpine areas of Germany.
        • In the northern regions of Germany, numerous Christian customs and beliefs still exist, whose origin may be traced back to the pagan rites and myths of pre-Christian times.
  • Wortschatz zu den 12 heilgen Abenden (vocabulary for the 12 Holy Nights)
  • Es gibt während den zwölf heiligen Abenden viele Glauben, Aberglauben, und Sagen. (There are many beliefs, superstitions, and legends during the 12 Holy Nights.)
    • vorweihnachtliche Glauben und Aberglauben (pre-Christmas beliefs and superstitions)
      1. Speisen und Getranke Glauben (food & drink beliefs, superstitions)
      2. traditionelle Figuren (traditional figures dressed in costumes,masks)
      3. Schmuck, Kerzen, Licht, Feuer (decorations, candles, light, fire)
    • Glauben (beliefs)
      1. Knöpfelnächte (knocking nights)
      2. Weihnachtsschützen (Christmas mountain shooting)
      3. Neujahrssingen (singing in the New Year)
    • Aberglauben (superstitions)
      1. Hexenjagd (it’s a favorable time for witch hunting)
      2. Bergschießen (traditional mountain shooting)
      3. Orakel, um die Zukunft vorherzusagen (predicting future events)
      4. Glückssymbole (symbols of luck)
      5. Geräusche machen (making noise)
    • Sagen (legends)
      1. die wilde Jagd (wild host at beginning of 12 Holy Nights)
      2. Frau Holla / Holle Frau Holla Holle and her army of ghosts (Epiphany)
      3. Glöcklerlauf in Ebensee / Salzkammergut in Österreich (Race of the Bell-Bearers)
      4. Perchten und Perchtenläufen in den Alpen (carnival processions of grotesque figures, from Advent to Epiphany)
      5. Frau Perchta / Bercht and her demon crown in the Alps and Danube area on Epiphany
      6. Alpendämonen (demons of the Alpine regions in Bavaria, Austria, and Switzerland)
      7. drei Könige Melchoir, Bathasar, and Gaspar (3 Kings)
      8. Tschäggättä (costumed figures with dreadful hand-carved wooden Masks in Lötschental in Swiss canton of Wallis)