Tuesday, December 15, 2009

der Weihnachtsbaum

[ The Christmas Tree ]

Over the past few weeks I have been learning quickly from my host family the very ingrained family traditions of Weihnachten in Germany. This holiday in Germany shares very similar images to the Christmas Season anywhere [afterall most of these Christmas images came from Germany! Christmas tree, gingerbread hauses, candy canes ... ect] but it has been the experience of learning the differences of traditions that has been the most interesting.

Inge has shared her nostalgic views on the perfect Christmas in Germany - as well has her distaste for our American houses strung up with lights - yet all the comparisons have made me only appreciate the adoration Germans have for Weihnachten, but also how I will miss the gaudy or candy-like sight of houses glowing in multicolored lights under a fresh layer of snow - it is all about perception.

Over the weekend we all took a family outing for one of the most important facets of Christmas at the Radke-Sebode house. Moritz, my host brother, also 19, returned home from visiting friends in Japan and will be here for the holidays. It has been fun getting to know him over the past few days. On Sunday we all drove out to a tiny dorf near Göttingen - a small village - and picked out der Weihnachtsbaume - The Christmas tree.

zu Gross
zu klein
... dieser ist schon tot...

We held up a few examples and Inge had the final say for the tree in the house. It was a pretty quick purchase for the amount of debating Andreas pre-warned me about, and we all happily sipped warm glühwein before heading back home.

Now we haven't decorated the tree yet. In fact, the tree is not even in the house. I have been informed that the tree is definitely not decorated UNTIL Christmas. Now there are decorations around the house, but the tree is definitely for later. I find it interesting since our trees in America proudly stand at home - my Dad's pride with the little vilage built below - from Thanksgiving time until the feast of the 3 kings - yet we don't put baby Jesus into the manger until Wegilia - the Polish celebration on Christmas eve. At my house here in Germany, die Krippe - the nativity scene - is already complete - I guess it will be these differences that will keep me observant for the rest of the month!

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