Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nikolaus



Leaving to Bonn for the BIMUN conference, I unfortunately had to miss Advent, the first Sunday of the nativity calendar which is officially the start of the season here in Germany. Even so, I have still been able to enjoy the Christmas markets as they have been well underway and experience some of the traditions of Germany for Weihnachten. When I returned from Bonn on the 5th of December, I actually forgot the fact that it was a prominent day during the Christmas season in German - especially for recieving candy.

Nikolaus - the celebration of St. Nicholas [ the Christian figure that has evolved into Santa Clause and Father Christmas in the west ] - is celebrated on the evening of the 5th to the 6th of December and is a day that has attained a new meaning in Germany and other Euopean nations as well, especially for children. In the evening, Nikolaus visits the homes of children and puts candy in a Nikolausstieffel [ Nicholas Boot ] for children that have been well mannered and behaved during the previous year. Apparently if you are bad, from what I have read, children can be upset to find a Rute - a tree branch - in their boot instead.

[ Is the branch for decoration... or have I been a little bad?... ]

Well, I think that Inge [correction... Nikolaus] thought I have been good, and coming back from Bonn I found a nice gift of a St. Nick chocolate and some other candies waiting for me. I think Andreas was good too... well, he did have a bottle of wine in his boot... but a tree branch too...

Along with my nice surprise of having a bit of German Christmas traditions shared with me, I also had an Advent Calendar hanging for me in my room as well. I know that these are very common in America as well - but they are no way near as prominent as they are in Germany. Stores are loaded with many different designs and sizes [some are HUGE] and from what I have heard, they are supposed to be given as a gift and not purchased for yourself.



I have a nice calendar now hanging for me in my room given to me from my host family. I have been thrilled to feel like a little kid again with Christmas surprises and enjoying the season with my host family here. I did miss a few days of December after all in Bonn, so I had to catch up with the chocolate eating in my calendar - just to be up to date of course.

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