CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE
The 12 Days of Germany Christmas: Day Two
Happy Zweite Weihnachten! (Also known as St. Stephens Day)
Yes, the Germans in their good sense keep the Christmas holiday going for two days. Some Germans may start their day with a church service to celebrate St. Stephen, an early Christian disciple who is know for being the first martyr. After that they may go home and spend a quieter day with their families, relaxing and contemplating.
This day is also a legal holiday in all the German States, so don’t try to get out to shop for the after Christmas sales yet.
There are some traditional meals associated with the holiday celebrations in Germany. The ties to a particular food are not quite as strong as the United States’ Thanksgiving turkey, but there are some traditional meals. On Christmas Eve, you may find carp as the main course. This tradition is a little stronger with our eastern neighbors, Poland and the Czech Republic, but you will still find this fishy dish on many a German table.
A traditional meal for Germans at Christmas is goose. Alternative choices are duck or suckling pig. Marzipan, a moldable almond paste is also considered traditional. There is a St. Nicholas rhyme that mentions almonds, which ties almonds, St. Nick and Christmas together.
Tomorrow we’ll talk a little more about cracking Christmas almonds and other nuts with the traditional German nutcracker.