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A Magical Journey Through German Christmas Traditions: From Advent to Three Kings Day

Christkindlesmarkt, Hermann MO

The magic of Christmas in Germany is a time-honored tradition filled with rich customs and festive celebrations that span the entire month of December. From the enchanting Advent season to the joyful festivities of Heiligabend and the Epiphany, Germany embraces the spirit of Christmas with a unique blend of old-world charm and modern festivities. Join us on a journey through the German Christmas season as we explore the customs and traditions that make it truly special.

"Weihnachtsfest" is a German term that translates to "Christmas celebration" or "Christmas festival" in English. It refers to the festive season surrounding Christmas, including the days leading up to Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the subsequent days of celebration.

During Weihnachtsfest, people in German-speaking countries engage in various traditions and customs. These may include decorating Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, attending Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte), and enjoying festive meals with family and friends. The holiday season is often marked by the spirit of giving, joy, and reflection on the significance of Christmas.

Weihnachtsfest is an important cultural and religious celebration in Germany and other German-speaking regions, and it is a time when people come together to celebrate the holiday season in a spirit of warmth and togetherness.

1. German Advent (December 1-24):

The Christmas countdown begins on December 1st with the start of Advent. German households mark each day leading up to Christmas Eve with the opening of an Advent calendar, revealing small surprises and treats.

2. Adventskalendar:

The Advent calendar, or Adventskalendar, is a beloved tradition that originated in Germany. These calendars, often beautifully crafted, feature 24 windows, each concealing a delightful surprise. It's a charming way for families to anticipate Christmas Day.

3. Heiligabend (Christmas Eve - December 24):

Heiligabend, or Holy Evening, is the main event for German families. Traditionally, this is when the Christmas tree is decorated, and families come together for a festive meal. The exchange of gifts, known as die Bescherung, takes place, creating a magical atmosphere as children unwrap presents.

4. Adventskranz (Advent Wreath):

The Advent wreath, or Adventskranz, is a symbol of the season. Lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas, the four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Families gather around the wreath for a moment of reflection and togetherness.

5. St. Nikolaus Day (December 6):

On the evening of December 5th, children leave their shoes out, hopeful that St. Nikolaus will fill them with treats. Nikolausabend is a time for joy and anticipation as families prepare for the arrival of this beloved figure.

6. Holler Boller Rumpelsack:

December 6th also brings the whimsical tradition of Holler Boller Rumpelsack, where mischievous characters visit homes, leaving small gifts and adding an element of surprise to the festivities.

7. Christmas Dinner and Midnight Mass:

Christmas Day is marked by a festive dinner, often featuring traditional German dishes. Many Germans attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, a solemn and beautiful tradition that ushers in the joyous celebration of Christmas Day.

8. Silvester (New Year's Eve):

As the year comes to a close, Germans celebrate Silvester with fireworks, parties, and a sense of excitement for the possibilities of the coming year.

9. The Three Kings (Heilige Drei Könige - January 6):

January 6th marks the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. Children often dress up as the Three Wise Men, collecting money for charity in a tradition that blends joyous celebration with acts of kindness.

10. German Christmas Markets:

No exploration of German Christmas traditions is complete without a visit to the enchanting Christmas markets. These festive gatherings offer a delightful array of crafts, food, and entertainment, capturing the true spirit of the season.


As the Christmas season unfolds from December 1st to January 6th, Germany comes alive with the magic of age-old traditions and festive celebrations. From the anticipation of Advent to the joyous gatherings on Heiligabend and the charitable acts of Epiphany, each day is marked by unique customs that create a truly enchanting holiday experience.

For an immersive journey into the heart of German Christmas traditions, consider a visit to the charming town of Hermann, MO. Stay at The Mercantile on the Katy Trail, and immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of a German-inspired Christmas celebration. Make this holiday season one to remember by embracing the magic of Christmas in the heart of Hermann.

Experience the wonder of a German Christmas – book your stay at The Mercantile on the Katy Trail today!

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