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The First of Advent

By November 29, 2012

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This weekend, Germany kicks off the holiday season: All of Germany's Christmas markets open their gates; on Sunday, the country celebrates the first of Advent, a beloved Christmas tradition in Germany; and it is snowing all over Germany. What a wonderful start to the holiday season!

Many families celebrate the Advent Sundays in the weeks leading up to Christmas with singing carols, drinking hot spiced wine, and eating Christmas cookies or a piece of Stollen, a traditional German Christmas cake.

The Advent wreath was "invented" by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a German pastor, who founded an orphanage in Hamburg in 1833. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, the children would ask him daily if Christmas had arrived. To make the wait easier, Wichern came up with his magical Christmas countdown, creating his first Advent wreath out of an old cartwheel and small candles.

Do you have a beloved Advent tradition? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Celebrating the Season in Germany

(Photo by Birge Amondson)

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