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German Advent Calendar:
Fact of the Day

1. DezemberDer Adventskalender

Advent Calendar > 1 December

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Advent is the four-week period leading up to Christmas. The Advent season begins on the first Sunday after November 26 (Nov. 30, 2014).

The German Advent calendar tradition goes back to the 19th century when children would draw Christmas pictures on 24 pieces of paper and hang them in the house. In the 1880s the wife of a German Lutheran pastor crafted small Christmas boxes (Schachteln) for her impatient son to open on each day leading up to Christmas. Each box was filled with a delicious cookie and Gerhard was allowed to open one each day and eat the cookie inside. In his novel Buddenbrooks (1901), Thomas Mann mentions a homemade tear-off Advent calendar.

By 1903 or 1904, Gerhard Lang, as a partner in Reichhold & Lang in Munich, was manufacturing the first commercial illustrated Advent calendars (without cookies). The first calendars with fold-out windows appeared in 1920. Since the 1940s, Stuttgart’s Sellmer Verlag has specialized in diorama calendars that display Christmas village scenes. The first chocolate-filled Advent calendars were being marketed as early as 1958.

Since the 1960s in Scandinavia, first in Sweden, there have been televised Julekalender (Swedish) to count down the days until Christmas.

December 1 (or the first Advent Sunday) is also the traditional starting day for many German and Austrian Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte). See the December 2 Advent entry for more about Christmas markets.

GLOSSARY > German-English Christmas Dictionary
QUIZ > Advent and Christmas Customs
MORE > Advent - from The German Way

BACK > German Advent Calendar

WEB > Advent calendar (Wikipedia - English)
WEB > Adventskalender (Wikipedia - Deutsch)
WEB > Adventskalender Museum (Sellmer Verlag)

 
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