Jingle Bells…

Christmas is coming! You can feel it in the German air. This special season of the year gives you more opportunities to learn new German words, because das Weihnachten includes many German traditions that you probably will follow if you stay in Germany and if you are interested in trying something new (something that Germans do).

Here are 3 German words I have recently learned as well as some explanation of their meanings:

Der Adventskranz

(Advent wreath)

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The idea of the Advent wreath originally comes from Germany. Johann Hinrich Wichern (German theologian) is credited with the invention of the Advent wreath in 1839. The story tells that during Advent (1December-24December) children from poor families that J.H.Wichern took care of at his school kept asking him when the Christmas was coming. To make it easier for them to count the days until Christmas he built a large wooden ring that he decorated with 20 small red and 4 big white candles. Red candles were lit up every weekday and white candles on Sundays. At present, most of the Advent wreaths have four candles, and, sometimes, you can see the fifth candle in the middle. Every Sunday during Advent the candle is lit up. On the last Sunday before Christmas all four candles are lit up and if there is the fifth one, it is lit up on the Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Sometimes, you can see 3 purple and 1 pink candles on the Advent wreath in accordance with liturgical colors.

Das Wichtelgeschenk

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A small inexpensive gift (and do not forget that in German a word ‘das Gift’=poison) that you usually give to your colleagues/classmates anonymously during Advent. Sometimes, that’s the present that you get by tossing a coin or drawing. For instance, in the beginning of this week at my language school we were told about der Adventskalender,die Adventszeit, and das Wichtelgeschenk. We all drew a piece of paper with a name written on it from a bag. Within the next three weeks I shall bring das Wichtelgeschenk to a person whose name was written on a piece of paper I got by chance.

das Wichtel

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A Christmas elf that helps Santa with the Christmas presents. When you give another person das Wichtelgeschenk you act as das Wichtel.

 wichteln is a verb that describes the process of giving each other die Wichtelgeschenke.

P.S. Yesterday there was no new post due to my busy schedule. I have been working on some language related material and, I believe, soon I can add a new page on my blog related to learning new languages. 🙂

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