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Adventszeit und Weihnachten
Advent and a German Christmas Countdown

With a Christmas Glossary
and German Christmas Recipes

In the German-speaking countries, Christmas (Weihnachten) lasts approximately from December 1 to January 6. However, in some parts of German Europe the Christmas season begins as early as Martinstag on the 11th of November! As I mentioned in another Christmas article, the date of Christmas has fluctuated over the centuries. At one point January 6 was the date of the celebration, and that is still the date for some eastern Orthodox churches. In this article we look at the key dates of the Christmas celebration in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Silent Night photo
Die Stille-Nacht-Kapelle
in Oberndorf, Österreich.

Send this picture as
a Christmas card!
Foto: © H. Flippo

Most of the Anglo-American Christmas traditions have been borrowed and adapted from Austria and Germany. "Silent Night" is only one of them. The photo on the left shows a key landmark in the history of Christmas. The Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf bei Salzburg in Austria commemorates the origin of the world's most popular Christmas carol. It was first performed, with guitar accompaniment, near this spot (the original church no longer stands) on Christmas Eve of 1818. (See our Christmas E-Cards in German with a photo of the interior of this chapel.)

The Christmas tree (Tannenbaum, Christbaum, Weihnachtsbaum) arrived in both England and America from Germany. Even the American image of Santa Claus has a German connection. (More about both items in A German Christmas.)

But how do Germans go about celebrating Christmas? Well, that actually varies from region to region, but there are some commonalities, such as Advent, that we can depend on. On the next page, you'll find the most important dates of the German Christmas season. Many of the dates listed offer links to more detailed information for that item. You may also want to read more about these customs on our other Christmas pages. Below you'll find links to our other Christmas pages and links for online Advent calendars, German and Austrian Christmas sites, German Christmas carols, recipes and more.

NEXT > German Christmas Calendar

More German Christmas Pages

German Christmas Calendar
A Christmas countdown with the important dates of the German Christmas season.

German Christmas Greetings
Need some German Christmas greeting phrases? Here are suggestions for greetings you can use on a German Christmas card, including our free e-card service.

Christmas E-Cards in German
Send a free German Weihnachtskarte to anyone with an email address!

German Christmas Carols
Sing along in German! Lyrics in German and English.

German Christmas Recipes
How about some Glühwein (hot mulled wine) or Lebkuchen (gingerbread)?

German Christmas Vocabulary
An annotated English-German Christmas glossary.

A German Christmas
German Christmas customs, traditions and vocabulary.

German Christmas Guide
All of our German Christmas pages.

German Newsletters
Subscribe to a free newsletter!

German Chat


German for Beginners
Our free online German course.

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