Holidays in Germany By: Gretchen Ostern (Easter) April 20 Children are not obligated to give presents at Easter. They only receive them. In some German regions, children virtually “collect” Easter eggs from their relatives.
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Children are not obligated to give presents at Easter. They only receive them. In some German regions, children virtually “collect” Easter eggs from their relatives.
What once were conventional little gifts have now become more or less “surprise presents,” where the “Easter Bunny” has been places between the child and the giver. Small children believe that the Easter Bunny has brought and hidden the items. The Easter bunny is less of an “educational” figure than is St. Nikolaus, for the eggs are not given as rewards for being good.
Thanksgiving is held on the first Sunday after Michelmas. It is however, not the family affair and the feasting it is in America.
Special masses are held to give thanks for the abundant harvest. In many areas the faithful bring fruits and crops to church to have them blessed. In a few places artistic carpets of fruits, seeds and crops are created in front of the altar.
In some areas a pre-Christian custom is followed: the last sheaf is decorated with colorful ribbons and left in the barn until next year’s seedtime.
In Germany Heiligabend is the most important day. Shops and offices close at about 1 p.m. to allow families to prepare for the celebrations.
When Christmas trees became popular and giving gifts was expanded to the whole family, all presents were arranged around the decorated tree on a table. Today, this is still a custom. Depending on the size of the tree the presents are laid out on the floor beneath it or on the table.
When everything is ready – normally after dark – a bell is rung or Christmas music played to invite all to come see the lighted tree and receive their gifts.