the German Christmas

Ok, so here are some things you need to know about the german christmas.

weather: every year germans hope and pray for a white christmas but almost every year there is none in big parts of Germany. Why the hope for that is so high when this happens so seldom I don’t know. If there is something almost regular then the very mild and rainy christmas eve

tv tower with  city hall christmas tree

family: Many germans do not have a big family bond and members are visited very seldom. And even if they are visited at christmas or maybe easter the visit is bothering them and they are glad when they can drive home.

christmas sports: Usually the big part of the german population that does not do any sports goes out on christmas for a short , very slow paced walk with the other family members. This might be a rare event where you can watch people actually walking outside that you normally don’t see.

church: While a few people are persistent by not going to mass throughout the whole year many others who do not go throughout the whole year either go at least christmas or maybe even easter.

people walking off or to the Marien church by the city hall

length: the 2nd day of christmas (yes, you might never heard of that in your country) is often the most boring day for a lot of germans. And the time afterwards between christmas and new years day – and sometimes even later – there is hardly any events, many offices are closed, organisations don’t meet and even some shops are closed. Surprising that this is affordable in a country whose economy is not really in the best condition at the moment.

the alternatives: While you could just decide to not celebrate christmas and put a palm tree in your apartment and drink a tropical cocktail many others obviously want to make a point – and can afford it too – by driving away from it going on holidays to southern countries.

the snow crisis

And then there are those people who were shaking their heads over backward USA everytime when the hurricanes came and many people were without power. How could this happen in a country that probably considers itself as the technical most advanced country in the world? Unbelievable!

Now, it might be correct that Germany’s powersystem is more advanced having the power lines underground in towns and cities and such power outages happen very seldom. But that they do happen shows a recent power outage caused by the onset of winter in the western parts of Germany. Hundred thousands of people were right away without power and not because of a hurricane but “just” because 50 centimers (about 19 inches) of snow that came down in a short amount of time. The weight of the snow caused big iron overland poles to crack.

And even worse – in this industrialized country it was not possible to repair things completely so far since the snow came down before the weekend. While many people have power again, others are waiting in this cold weather.

Halloween

Since I experienced Halloween in both countries – the US and Germany – here is how this day is celebrated in both countries:

Halloween in the US:
Children, about 3 – 11 years old, are walking through the streets with their brothers and sisters, usually accompanied by their parents. They are dressed pretty inventive and ring at doors of neighbours whose houses are decorated in a nice “halloweeny” way. After saying their trick or treat slogan the neigbours give them lots of different sweets.

Halloween in Germany:
Already days before Halloween itself – preferably at the weekend before – teenagers hold big halloween parties where they drink a lot, as much as they anyways drink at any other party that they usually have at the weekends – the reasons do not really matter – just this time a few of them at least wear some halloween-makeup.
On halloween itself basically 14 – 20 year old people walk around carrying and drinking alcoholics, only a few of them are wearing the typical customs or makeup. The few younger children that are out too are intimidated by the older children or teenagers. The older ones ring at the doors, no slogan of course and if somebody does not open the door – which happens very often because many people don’t even know about Halloween or the traditions connected with that – a ballon filled with water lands in the mailbox or paintballs are thrown against the wall of the house.

Please, Germany, if you copy customs from different countries then copy them correctly.