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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

The First Advent this year falls on the 29th of November, a Sunday. I have to hurry and start baking some cookies. OK, so I have enough German cookies, but they are store-bought. And besides, those cranberries look so festive and delicious. Ever had any Cranberry Christmas Cookies before?

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WHAT has cold, grey, drizzly November to offer in the way of festivities for children?
Answer: MARTINMAS.

sanktmartin

The highlight of November in Germany is “Martini”. “Martini”, which has nothing to do with James Bond’s martini, shaken or stirred, falls on the 11th of November, and is also known as “Martinstag” or St. Martin’s Day. It is a feast day in the Catholic regions of Germany commemorating St. Martin, Bishop of Tours (316 – 397 AD) who was buried on the 11th of November. Legend has it that Martin, as a young Roman soldier, cut his cloak in two and gave one half to a beggar he saw freezing in the depth of Winter. This charitable act earned him his Sainthood. St. Martin’s Day is celebrated with a lantern procession and singing, followed by a feast of “Martinsgans” or Martin’s goose.

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ANOTHER plant that makes its appearance together with the Poinsettia during the Holiday Season is the Amaryllis, also known as the Belladonna Lily. Flower shops carry them as a bulb with a stem just emerging, and by Christmas, the plant should be in full bloom, with a flower, or two, even three if you’re lucky. You can also get Amaryllis bouquets, bound with Christmas greens. Red is the most popular, as it is the colour of Christmas. I prefer the pink ones.

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Butter Stollen

In Germany, the shops and supermarkets have been gently hinting, since the beginning of October,  that Christmas is just around the corner. The shelves are stocked with the traditional Christmas cakes and cookies – the most popular being the Butter Stollen, a loaf-shaped, heavy, sweet yeast cake-bread made with clarified butter, raisins and candied fruits; and Zimt Sterne,a cinnamon-spiced cookie shaped like a star with a chocolate or white sugar icing.

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