Weihnachten" - The
favorite daytime meal on the day before Christmas consisted of "Bockwurst und
and potato salad), as the homemakers were then better able to prepare for the evening's
more elaborate meal and the "Bescherung" (present giving).
At dusk on Christmas Eve, friends would gather and treated with
"Feuerzangebowle!", a Pomeranian type of sweetened, spiced, and
heated wine. When the guests were seated,
they were served appetizers of "Kock Kase mit Schwartzbrot" (cooked
cheese spread with dark bread), "Heringe Nach Hausfrauenart"
(pickled creamed herring) and Rugenwald tea sausage. The hospitality rules
were more relaxed than at other times. Christmas was a time when family and
very close friends celebrated together and most non-family activities were suspended
for the week.
was by candlelight and began with "Kirschsuppe" (warm cherry soup
with dumplings). The main course was "Pommerscher Gansebraten" (roast
goose with stuffing) served with gravy, "Rotkohl mit Apfeln" (red
cabbage with apples), and "Knoedel" (potato dumplings). Many
families also included "Blue Carp, poached in vinegar and served with
horseradish and sweet whipped cream, boiled salted potatoes garnished with parsley and
butter. Dessert was "Schokolade Pudin" (steamed chocolate
pudding with hard sauce) and "Klotternusse Keks" cookies.
Other delicacies of the season served as in-between snacks, included"Christstollen"
(long loaves of bread filled with nuts, dried fruit, citron, and raisins), "Lebkuchen"
(spice bars), "Reisbrei" (a rice pudding flavored with sweet cinnamon),
and white sausage,
goose was stuffed with vegetables rather than the bread stuffing of Americans.
To prepare a "Feuerzangenbowle", you need red wine, rum, oranges
juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves. All lights in the room should be
dimmed to provide the appropriate atmosphere. The rum-soaked sugar is lit and
as the flames leap up, the sugar drips into the spiced wine.
who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night,
therefore "Dickbauch" (fat stomach) is a name given for this opportunity
to eat so well and so much.
Christmas tree, according to tradition, originated in Germany. It is
believed that Martin Luther began the tradition of bringing a fir tree into the
home. One Christmas Eve he brought an evergreen tree into his daughters
nursery for her to enjoy since the weather was too bad for her to go outside.
He decorated the tree with candles.
tree has a mysterious magic for the children because they are not allowed to see it
until Christmas Eve. Usually the children are occupied with the Christmas Eve church service
and when they arrive home the Christmas Tree has appeared, usually in the
"parlor," that special room that is only used for special occasions.
The tree is decorated with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, tinsel, family treasures,candles
and the presents have been placed under the tree. As the children
enter this fantastic room, the candles are lit, the Christmas story
is read and/or carols are sung, and the gifts are opened. The Christmas tree lights and candles are
essential to the Pomeranians Christmas celebration.
On Christmas Eve in Germany, according to legend, rivers turn to
wine, animals speak to each other, trees bear fruit, mountains open up to
reveal precious gems, and church bells can be heard ringing from the bottom of the
sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness this Christmas magic. All of
must be content with traditional German celebrating, of which there is
plenty. As a matter of fact, there is so much celebrating that it has to begin on
December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.
As in many other European countries, on the eve of December 6th,
children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas,
from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the
children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with
delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with
Die Wienachten Rose, the Christmas Rose -
Christmas tradition in Pomerania that originated in about the 12th cnetury, at
a time when the populous still had not converted to Christianity and Pagan
customs prevailed. It is said that the German bishop, Otto Von Bamberg,
made a visit to Stettin and converted some of the residents. Many of the
newly converted Christians died because of their beliefs. There was an
old man who lived in a small village near Stettin, who was a Christian, but
kept it a secret out of fear of persecution. However, one of his
neighbors betrayed him to the Pagan priests, which resulted in him being jailed
and sentenced to death. The heathen priests taunted and ridiculed him,
and said, "If your God is so powerful, let Him make flowers bloom here in
the middle of winter," then you will be set free. The old man prayed
throughout the night, but, in the morning he was led to the public hanging
tree. Lo and behold, there, under the old oak tree, flowers were in full
bloom. They were to become known as the "Christmas Rose."
It is believed that the Crossbeak, a rare bird
that nests and broods in this northern area at Christmas time, had carried the seed
from the south. With this sign the Pomeranians accepted Christianity.