Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bavarian Christmas Traditions by Emily Diamond

Strange Bavarian Christmas Traditions
Bavaria is the biggest state in Germany. When you think of Bavaria you might automatically think of bavarian cream. No one knows the exact origin of this delicious dessert but it is thought to be made by a Bavarian family in France during the late 17th century. Some important dates during christmas time in Bavaria are:  December 6th is “Nicolas’ Day”, December 13rd is “Lucy Day”, December 21st is “Thomas Day”, December 24th is of course Christmas Eve, and New Year's Day There are many reasons to visit Bavaria, such as: scenery, sausage, and lederhosen. The things I find far more interesting though, are the unusual christmas traditions.
The Christmas Pickle is one of the weirdest and random modern Christmas customs. In the 1880’s stores in Germany started selling fruit and vegetable glass ornaments. The pickle ornament was among them and became quite popular. The tradition of the Christmas Pickle is that the pickle ornament would be the last one to be put on the tree, and the child that found the pickle first got an extra present on Christmas day.
In the dead of winter, the terrifying figures known as”Klaussner” and “Barbell” wind their way through the houses of the Allgäu. They believe that these scary outfits will ward off the evil spirits that lurk in winter and spread the blessing of life. These costumes are huge capes made of fur  and some have twigs, sticks, embedded in it. They have heavy cow bells hanging from their belts  that ring loudly with each step that they take. These are worn by normal young men and women of the village. Image result for klaussner barbell germany
The next tradition is called Schalenggen. This is a race held every year down a 1,000 meter mountain in the Pfronten district of Kappel. This isn’t really a race, because as long as they pass the finish line with at least a piece of their sleigh they win. Their sleigh is a horn sleigh, used to carry hay and wood from the hills to the valley. About 200 people join in this race each year on the 31st.
The Klopfl singers sing their song, the Klopflfied, to the townspeople in Bavaria around Christmas time. They are the equivalent to carolers in modernt time. Instead of singing for the fun of it, they would have sacs they carried around to put what they earned in. They weren’t tipped in money, but instead in food. This food could range anywhere from flour, bacon, sausages, or ham. They would then take the food they were given and turn it into their Christmas dinner. The german term Klopfl comes from klopfen, which means to knock in english. They are called that because they would go up to the house and knock before starting their song. Sometimes a native instrument or two would join these singers.
I don't know about you but I would love to spend a Christmas time in Bavaria. You could go out to get some good German food, watch (or be in) the horn race, find the Christmas pickle, watch Klaussner and Barbell do their thing, and listen to some caroling. Now that sounds like fun to me.


The pickle:
The santa hat

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