December 24, 2005

christkind vs. weihnachtsmann

Denkt euch, ich habe das Christkind gesehen

Denkt euch, ich habe das Christkind gesehen!
Es kam aus dem Walde, das Mützchen voll Schnee,
mit rotgefrorenem Näschen.

Die kleinen Hände taten ihm weh,
denn es trug einen Sack, der war gar schwer,
schleppte und polterte hinter ihm her.

Was drin war, möchtet ihr wissen?
Ihre Naseweise, ihr Schelmenpack -
denkt ihr, er wäre offen der Sack?

Zugebunden bis oben hin!
Doch war gewiss etwas Schönes drin!
Es roch so nach Äpfeln und Nüssen!

(Anna Ritter)

in germany, christmas really happens on christmas eve. families go to church in the afternoon, children perform in nativity plays, dinner is comfort food, such as würstchen und kartoffelsalat, and later one assembles around the christmas tree (which ideally has been cut the very same day and is decorated with real candles) and presents are unwrapped - on christmas eve, not on christmas day (christmas day is for visiting relatives and eating goose).

depending on where you live, the presents are brought by the weihnachtsmann (who looks like santa claus) or by the christkind, the latter an invention of martin luther. no child ever gets to see the christkind, as parents will only open the door to the room with the decorated christmas tree after the christkind has left. nevertheless, as a child, i knew exactly how the christkind looked: very much like a fairy- dressed in red velvet (i imagined the christkind as a girl, of course) and with golden wings (not quite in tune with the description in the poem above). although the name evokes the name of jesus christ, i never thought of the christkind in religious terms.

in any case, here is a pair of golden wings (courtesy of IHP) that is 100% secular.

frohe weihnachten!
merry christmas!
happy holidays!

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