For our latest blog series we thought we’d give you an insight into the different Christmas traditions all around the world. Many of us in the UK don’t realise that crackers are very much a British tradition, despite us shipping them around the world every year. Created by London sweetmaker Tom Smith they really are part and parcel of a traditional British festive dinner table. So what about about festive traditions around the rest of the world? To start we thought w’d head across the channel because many of the traditions we still have now actually originated in Germany or many German speaking countries on the continent. Watch out for our next blog for a festive trip ‘down under’ in Australia!
Spreading right across the world German markets are known for scrumptious, warming food and drink. The UK has most certainly adopted the German bratwursts and other sausages as well as roasted chestnuts or maybe a lovely cup of mulled wine. Markets historically last for around four weeks and are sometimes called a Christkindlmarkt.
Did you know that this very well-known carol was in fact first composed in Austria in 1818? Many of us know the tale of ‘Stille Nacht’ being sung on the front lines during the Second World War whilst the troops called a temporary Christmas truce.
Some believe St Nicholas is the precursor to the modern day ‘Father Christmas’ or ‘Santa Claus’. In Germanic parts of Europe St Nicholas’s day is celebrated on December 6th not Christmas Day and traditionally people left their shoes outside to awake to nuts, gifts or sweets left in them overnight. St Nicholas is accompanied by his antithesis in Austria, a beast-like creature named ‘Krampus’ who punishes nasty children by carrying them off in his sack! Very different to Santa’s current companion Rudolf!
Did you know that it was Prince Albert in the Victorian time who started to popularise Christmas trees in UK? Born in Coburg in Germany, Prince Albert brought across the tradition which actually harks back to a pagan tradition of bringing in evergreen boughs way back in the viking era.
Interested in finding more information out about the Victorian christmas traditions? We found a brilliant article from the BBC here.