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Yesterday were the first advent. In Germany everybody has then a wreath on the table with four candles and the first candle is lit. The three other candles are lit each on the other following sundays before Christmas.

When I were a child I knew when all candles are burning then Christmas would be very close.

Of course I took this nice use over to Belgium and every sunday afternoon we lit a candle and played Christmas songs while drinking coffee and eating Christmas cookies. This created a special "before" Christmas athmosphere. This little decoration we lit yesterday. (above) Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Now we don't have a wreath anymore but I always make up something to replace it like this here for example. It is from last year, because we don't celebrate Christmas at home this year, we are going on holidays for 2 weeks.

The nicest thing is that people who came visiting us liked it so much that they did it too. In Belgium and other European countries, as far as I know it didn't exist. Of course now you find these wreaths with four candles in shops as a decoration, but they are only considered as something nice to put on a table.

When I celebrated my first Christmas in Brussels in 1959, it was very hard for my father to find a Christmas tree. There were only very few and it was not something what everybody did.

People here celebrated mostly the 6th December, Santa Claus. He brought the gifts to the children. Christmas was a family get together with a nice meal. Today of course this has changed at least in the french part of Belgium. Now everybody has his christmas tree, but a lot of people still celebrate Santa Claus as the feast for children, where they get the most important gifts.

Santa Claus as he is represented in Belgium and Holland. When I saw him for the first time I could hardly believe my eyes ! I was used to a Santa Claus, dressed as father Christmas !

Yesterday I participated to Photo Hunter group. The word was "light". So I started my walk through Blogville and after three blogs and three Christmas trees I thought this will be boring to look at I don't know how many Christmas trees.

I saw myself already like Donald Duck's uncle (I forgot his name) who instead of his eyes had $ signs in and I would have Christmas trees instead. But then suddenly I found it very interesting. Going from Blog to Blog from continent to continent, from states to states, countries to countries and cities to cities suddenly I realized that all these trees looked the same. Of course each had another decoration, but your neighbour too has another one than you.

And then I was happy. I thought at least one thing we all have in commun, whatever continent or country, whatever skin color or religion, we all have the same love for decorating a Christmas tree !

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us UNITED NATIONS OF CHRISTMAS TREES Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Sue said...

I love your United Nations of Christmas Trees graphic!
Yes, everyone does seem to do a tree, but I so enjoy reading and seeing pictures of all the different traditions.

Anonymous said...

Lovely decorations Gattina. :)

Advent is celebrated in other countries too, but normally the Advent wreaths are only lit in Church. I've gone to Catholic Churches all my life, and each Sunday during Advent, we have always lit one of the candles. The first three candles are purple, and the last one is pink.

Advent wreaths do seem to be more of a secular decoration and custom here in Germany. I have seen plenty of them here, whereas in Canada I only ever saw them in Church.

There were a lot of Christmas tree lights up for the "Lights" photo hunt. We don't have our tree up yet (in another week or two it will go up), so I couldn't share any Christmas photos (although I guess I could have put up the picture from last year).

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Very good observation. I love your human Christmas tree!

Yes, and your Santa Claus does look a little bit different but the beard is the same!

mar said...

Awww, your UN of Xmas trees is just lovely! It should always be Xmas time if that keeps the world in peace.

swampwitch said...

I am thrilled that I found you through Julie's Another Chance Ranch yesterday...hosting Blogging Chicks. What a wonderful post. I love the pictures and reading about your traditions. The Christmas tree reminds me of "It's a Small Small World." Thank You !

CyberCelt said...


Glad you decided to stay with C&C Monday. I am trying something different this time, mostly because of your comments.

Check out the click and comment post on CoolAdzine. Make sure you clicked the "damned" link.

happy and blue 2 said...

I like hearing about how others celebrate Christmas.
The tree is brilliant..

Meow said...

What a lovely post. I didn't realise you were German ... maybe I should have looked at your profile a bit more closely !! My family is from Hamburg, so I recognise the German customs you write about. My family has always had the Advent-Krantz. I don't currently have one, but have in the past. I used to put my shoe (specially cleaned) on the window sill on 5th for Nikolaus. I haven't done this in a long time ... I should introduce it to my daughter. Your Dresden Christmas Cake looks just like the Marzipan-Stollen we always have. There are many European Delicatessens here in Australia, where you can buy traditional German goods ... mmmmmm. Marzipan Kartoffeln are one of my favourite Christmas sweets ... I make my own. Mmmmm, my mouth is watering, just thinking of it all. Lebkuchen, Nuernberger Allerlei, Domino Steine, Pfeffernuesse. I think I need to go shopping !!!
Have a wonderful day.
Take care, Auf Wiedersehen, Tschuss,

Meow said...

Traditions are wonderful ... we still live by the traditions that my family have always lived by. They migrated to Australia in 1958, and have lived here ever since. I was born here. But, I think my mother is probably more "German" than the Germans (if you know what I mean!), in that she has held on to the customs and way of life so strongly. She always listens to German music. Her and my dad still always speak German to one another. I can still speak it, although rarely do. I am married to an Australian, who cannot speak German, and my daughter is just starting to learn it at school. My parents still have some distant relatives over in Hamburg, however most of the family migrated over here when they did.
My husband and daughter love the German customs, and wouldn't have it any other way !
Take care, Meow

Anonymous said...

Hello Gattina - didn't find these posts before!

I also like that there are so many people with similar trees - esp when I found some in Australia.

And I took your test and came out as The Star which has a lovely description.

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

"The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one."

DellaB said...

Gattina, this is FANTASTIC - I love this tree - thankyou