Why do we need Christmas rituals?
From birth, parents and children create rituals. An even daily routine with feeding, changing, playing lesson, going to bed gives you and your child reliability, security and security. Children need rituals, they help them to develop a basic trust. These include sleep rituals for babies and sleeping rituals for toddlers.
The Christmas and Advent periods are no exception to this rule - on the contrary, in almost all families, this is the time most marked by rituals. Parents and children especially love this season and eagerly await them. And the beautiful memories remain and are often carried in the same form in the next generation.
What are the most famous rituals at Christmas and where do they come from?
Many rituals are commonplace, such as the advent Calendar, Of course, they are especially popular with children, as they help them survive the long wait until Christmas Eve. Who invented them, you do not know exactly - but the origin is in Germany. The calendars began in the 19th century as 24 simple chalk marks on the wall, from which the children were allowed to brush away every day. Or a candle was burned every day a certain piece.
It is believed that the mother of Gerhard Lang had the basic idea of today's Advent calendar. She painted a box of 24 boxes and attached a pastry on each. That was around the year 1903. Her son was so impressed that he, as co-owner of a Munich printing house, pursued this idea further. He had two sheets printed: one with 24 Christmassy poems, the other with 24 matching pictures. So the children could put picture and poem together every day. From about 1920 there were the calendars with doors to open.
At about the same time, the custom arose Advent wreath to assemble with four candles - one for each Sunday of Advent. The first wreath hung probably 1925 in a Cologne church. Since then, this custom has spread all over the world. In many countries, the wreath on the door is a custom - for example in Switzerland and the USA.
In Switzerland, especially in rural areas, there is also the tradition of Advent window, Each house in the church adorns a window for a particular day in the Advent season, and as in an advent calendar, the light goes on in a window on a particular day when it gets dark. On the 1st of December there will be a hot drink for those who pass by. And in the coming days until Christmas, the windows remain illuminated.
In memory of Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, who died on December 6, 352, this day is still important for the children. They put their shoes on the door on the evening of 5 December, so that Nicholas fills them with delicious things during the night. Originally, Christmas was even celebrated on the 6th of December, in Holland it is still the case - there, by the way, Nicholas is called Sinterklaas. Nicholas has many other names: In Austria, for example, he is called Nikolo, in Turkey Noel Baba.
In Switzerland come the Santa Claus and the Schmutzli, his mate, on December 6 to the children and bring gifts. In the kindergartens, the children learn a song that is intended to induce the Samichlaus to bring out as many sweets as possible. It goes like this: "Sami niggi naggi hinderem Ofestöggli give Nüss and Biire, danish chumm i hindeführe." And there are many other Samichlaus versli.
In some places in central Switzerland around Lucerne has the so-called Chlausjagen Tradition. In white clothes and with a lighted Nicholas hat, a parade takes place, accompanied by deafening noise, to drive away the evil spirits and to get the best possible harvest. On the day of Nicholas, the 6th of December, you bake and eat so-called Grittibänze, these are Santa Claus in dough form.
The custom, one Wishlist Writing is also widespread in German-speaking countries. Three addressees are possible: Santa Claus, Santa Claus or Santa Claus. In Germany, these gift-makers even have several actually existing postal addresses: There are Christmas post offices in Himmelstadt (Bavaria), Himmelpfort (Brandenburg), Himmelpforten (Lower Saxony), Himmelsthür (Lower Saxony), Engelskirchen (NRW), Nikolausdorf (Lower Saxony), St. Nikolaus (Saar). Read more about the post offices at Wikipedia.
In many families, it is customary to own one during the Christmas season crib This is often home-made in Switzerland and Austria. Nativity plays for children are also practiced in many parishes in Austria and performed on Christmas Eve.
About 400 years ago, the idea arose as a fir Christmas tree to decorate. It was beautifully decorated with red apples, paper roses, nuts and gingerbread. Candles came later, when there was also stearin instead of the expensive beeswax. In Austria, the Christmas tree by Henriette of Nassau - Weilburg, the wife of Archduke Karl, from 1816 fashion. Around the same time, the Christmas tree began its triumphal march around the world.
Nowadays, glass balls, fairy lights, straw stars, etc. have somewhat supplanted the custom of hanging the tree with many sweets. It used to be a party for the kids when it started Baumplündern went!
A nice custom comes from the Thuringian glassblower town Lauscha. There will be a ball in the form of a green Christmas pickle hanged in the tree. The bigger the children, the smaller the cucumber. The child who first spies the cucumber in the tree is the first to unpack a gift.
A typical Swiss custom is the so-called "school Year"on December 23. All schoolchildren then have no school, but can do a lot of nonsense with her class, so to speak, officially checked in. Usually this is how the children get up early, when all are still sleeping, and pull with rattles, pan lid etc Through the houses and make as much noise as possible, the house bell rings and cars wrapped (with toilet paper or shaving cream) .There then in the schoolhouse a warm drink, something to eat and a party.
In addition to these many Christmas rituals, most families still have their own little customs, which are often passed down from generation to generation. Tell us in our community, what makes the very special magic of your Christmas and Advent season!