Frohe Weihnacht – Merry Christmas

The tradition of Christmas Eve in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Many countries around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways and on different days. In Germany, Austria and the German part of Switzerland it is custom to celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24th, and many families end the holy night with the midnight mass at local churches. In contrary to the American Christmas Eve parties the celebration is one mostly with only the immediate family. The days of the 25th and 26th are the days to visit other relatives and close friends and celebrate with them as well.

December 24th is also often the day when the Christmas tree is festively decorated together with the whole family and some pay a last visit to the Christkindel markets, which close that afternoon until next year’s Christmas season.

Who will bring the presents to the children in Germany? Well, this depends if one is from the south or the north. The children in the north of Germany traditionally have the “Weihnachtsmann” similar to Father Christmas bring the gifts in the evening, whereas in the
south of Germany, and also in Austria, children are waiting for the “Christkind” (Christ Child) to bring them presents.

With this CaliforniaGermans wishes you all a wonderful Merry Christmas, Fröhliche Weihnachten, and a prosperous and happy New Year!

If you would like to know where you can find a German Christmas Eve church service in your neighborhood, please follow the link to the German Consulate.

Happy Holidays!

Cornelia & CaliforniaGermans

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