Enjoying Advent and the Christmas Market in Germany
There is a saying says: “A Sunday well spent will bring a week of content,” so I do hope that all of you had done your Sunday very well, so that you can start cheerfully this new beginning of weekdays.
In this session, I am going to talk about my experience of celebrating Advent with the Germans, particularly with my fellow students and our professors. We know that yesterday was the first week of Advent. People went to church, and the first candle was lighted. I remember last year when my classmates and I were still residing in Hermannsburg. We went to church together, and approximately in the second week, we had an Advent celebration in our campus, together with all members and in cooperation with the Ev.-Luth. Missionwerk (ELM) in Hermannsburg.
We spent that night with joyful hearts and really felt like home, as you know that the coming people were mostly ‘strangers’ to us ourselves, since the only people we knew better at the moment were the members of our campus in Hermannsburg. But, that night, we shared everything together, and even the people from Ev.-Luth. Missionwerk provided very nice meals and beverages for all of us. We were served and treated very nicely. Until today, I would treasure that night as a hospitality night, where all people came sitting, singing and eating together at the same tables.
Yet, what is more common and popular in Germany in late November (entering the first week of Advent) is always about the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas Market, which can be found in every city in Germany. At that market, mostly foods and drinks are offered, but there are also various Christmas ornaments and other accessories or even household tools. Of course, it is really nice that one can enjoy eating their meals while looking at the flickering lights around the city.
Last year, besides the celebration we had in Hermannsburg, after the class of African Theology, we also had a nice time at the Weihnachtsmarkt in Göttingen. Our professor was kindly inviting us right after the class, and he himself was the sponsor for all students. So, at the Weihnachtsmarkt -which is always located around the Altes Rathaus or the city center-, we ate some kind of breads and drank a special kind of wine called Glühwein (mulled wine). But, why did we eat bread? Well, the reason was because we knew that in German, bread is not just an alternative food; bread is more than a food, and it is even part of Germans culture. Therefore, there were more types of bread in Germany that at the moment we knew we have never eaten before.
We headed back home right after spending like one and a half hour at the Weihnachtsmarkt and took some pictures together with our professor. To me, it was so impressive, as it was also my first time visiting and experiencing the weeks of Advent in Germany. But, what is always nice to be remembered is how the Germans treating us, especially our professors. They are all very nice and have always been trying to make us feel like home. They really know that as foreign students, we are all far from family and loneliness is somehow cannot be avoided. Therefore, by treating us like the members of their family, they know that at least they have tried their best to wipe away our feeling of being lonely, and I am so grateful for that, for having a chance to study in this very nice country with its hospitable people. We are not merely studying, but also given opportunities to take part in German culture.
Weihnachtsmarkt in Göttingen