Article by: Aisling Jones
In my time here at Hogwarts, I have learned that, other then a few differences in decorations and songs, there is not a whole lot of difference between how Magical folk and Muggles celebrate the holidays. It’s pretty much the same traditions on both sides. A common bond we all share, which is a lovely thing to have going. Especially at this time of the year.
But, I know other countries have different ways to celebrate it, and I know we have some students whose parents are not from around here. So, I tracked some of them down to ask them about their countries traditions, and did some research of my own on them as well. So first up we travel over the channel to Germany! I talked to Cecilia von Grimm about some of German customs and they are quite fun!
The first tradition that she spoke about was the one of Advent. Four weeks before Christmas they put out a special table top wreath with 5 candles on it. Four on the wreath itself and one in the middle. The middle candle is white, three of the others are either blue or purple and the last one is rose in color. Each of the four Sundays before Christmas they light a new candle with the middle one, along with any that have already been lit. This is to help mark the days before christmas. Germany is also where Advent calendars started for the same reason. I do so enjoy our chocolate giving ones we have here!
One of my favorite traditions I learned of is the Christkindlmarkt. It’s a big open marketplace set up in a town square with vendors of all sorts of things to buy, food to eat, gifts to give, Decorations. There is always music playing and it’s decorated magically, in both our way and the muggle Christmas way. It sounds like it would be fun to go to one and spend hours. I know we have something like them here but, the way they are described just seems different. Maybe it’s all the gingerbread smells!
Speaking of Gingerbread, Germany is where we got a lot of our Christmas Traditions- Trees, the red and green colors, and gingerbread all originated in Germany! And many of our most loved songs come from there as well. Like Silent Night. We have a lot to thank the Germans for when it comes to Christmas.
One thing I found interesting was in Germany they have two Gift giving days. They do Father Christmas like we do, but on December 6th they also get visits from St Nicholas, who is a more religious figure then Father Christmas. He brings small treats, like sweets and small trinkets on the night of the 5th and on the 6th you wake up to the items in your shoes left outside your door.
Sometimes a dark figure accompanies St. Nicholas, the Krampus. He fell off of being used for a while but in the past several decades he has become far better known. Krampus is a huge hairy terrifying horned monster that comes to kidnap naughty children and put them in a sack and carry them off to eat them later. Or, if you’re not trying to scare the bejabbers out of kids, he just will beat them with switches. Many places now have a Krampus night on the 5th where people dress as him and scare people.
So, to end this article, we clearly owe a lot to Germany for how christmas is today, and sounds like the Germans really know how to celebrate it.