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Sarah, 24, comes from Lippstadt, between Cologne and Hanover, in Germany. We met last year in Paris. Now she studies in Preston in England. Despite all those trips, she never forgets the German traditions for Christmas and she explained them to me.

  • How do you prepare Christmas in Germany?

Every Sunday before Christmas (4 Sundays), we light a candle of the Advent wreath. The Advent wreath is a tradition in Germany. The Advent wreaths are often home-made.

We also have the Advent calendar. It starts on 1st December. Each day, a new window is opened and you can find something inside to wait until Christmas. There thousands of different calendars, and there are often home-made too. Some are filled with little gifts, other with more expensive gifts. But the traditional one used to be filled with chocolates. You can find Advent calendar from September in the shops.

  • Is there typically German tradition for Christmas?

We buy the Christmas tree only few days before Christmas. In general, all the family decorates it but you can pick one person in charge of the decoration.

On 24th December, the day starts with a breakfast with all the family, and then everybody helps for the cooking of the Christmas dinner and for the afternoon tea.

Before dinner, you can sing, go to the Midnight Mass or go for a walk.

Children have to leave the room before having their gifts. When everything is ready, someone rings a bell and the children can come in. Candles and Christmas songs create a Christmas atmosphere.

  • What are the typical German decorations for Christmas?

You can have fairy lights, Christmas baubles, the Advent wreath, a Christmas tree and other Christmas ornaments.

  • What do you eat for Christmas?

It depends on where you come from Germany. For example, you can have turkey with red cabbage, potatoes knödel or pear, or typical German sausages with potatoes or carp fish.

We also eat Christmas cookies, gingerbread (Lebkuchen) or macaroons.

  • Do you also celebrate Santa Claus in Germany? What is it? What do you do? Is more important than Christmas?

On 5th December, we put a boot in front of our door. During the night, Santa Claus comes and lets sweets and little gifts in the boot. But it is not more important than Christmas.

  • What would you like to add something about Christmas?

Today, traditions are not so strict. For example, the Christmas meal does not have to be very elaborated, you can cook something different if your want.

I would like to thank Sarah for this interview.

While we are waiting until Christmas eve to celebrate, the Mexican families are already having fun!

In Mexico, Christmas celebrations begin the 16th at night, and continue until Christmas eve. It is called the posadas, literally « inn » or « hospitality ».

Friends or neighbours gather in front of the house within which the party is going to take place. They start to sing and ask for shelter for the night to the family that is receiving.  It symbolises Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. Once the song is finished, all the « pilgrims » go inside and the party can start. Everyone drinks and eats the food the family has prepared. The most traditional beverage is a hot fruit-based beverage called ponche.

Then comes the moment to break the  piñata. Originally, they were made of a clay pot covered with papier-mâché and crepe paper. The most traditional piñata is shaped like a star with 7 points. The points symbolize the  7 deadly sins. But nowadays, you can find piñatas of various sizes, shapes and colours. Each person in turn is blindfolded and tries to break the piñata with a stick. The rest of the people sing a little song during which the participant has to break the piñata; otherwise, the next person is blindfolded. It goes on until the piñata is finally broken. In order to be sure that the blindfolded person will not break the piñata, the other people shout wrong directions to misguide him/her. In a very sadistic version, the piñata is suspended from a rope that can be easily moved. The person in charge of the rope can then lower, raise, push or pull the piñata. It makes the breaking more interesting but a lot more difficult. Once the piñata is broken, all the children rush below it and try to collect the candy that falls out. If there is a second piñata, the same thing starts over.

The next day, the same party starts over in a different home. Quite often, you can see these parties taking place between neighbours of a whole street. Each day, the hosting family is different, but the people invited remain the same.

Moan’Phisémy

If you want to make your own piñata

Learn more about Christmas in Mexico

More about the piñatas and the piñata song


juillet 2017
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