RE:Christmas in Germany

I was born in germany. As a young woman I came to the USA.
I have been back to Germany many of times ,even at Christmas time.
All my Christmas memories, I will cherish.

It has been long thought, that Martin Luther began the tradition of
bring a fir tree into the house. The legend says, Martin Luther was walking home through the woods and noticed how beautifully the stars
shined through the trees. He wanted to share the beauty with his wife, so he cut down a fir tree and took it home.
As he got home he placed small lighted candles on the branches and said it would be a symbol of the Christmas sky, hence the christmas tree.
Another story is been told, that in the 1600's, people in Germany combined two customs that had been practiced in different countries a round the world.
The Paradise tree (a fir tree decorated with apples) represented the tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. The Christmas Light a pyramid like frame,decorated with glass balls and tinsel and with a candle on top, was the symbol of the birth of Christ as the light of the world.
The german people decorated homes with evergreens and fruit and paper
roses.Since it was around the shortest day of the year, the lighting
of candles , the green tree and the fruit on the tree was a remembrance of the spring and summer when every thing was light and green.
Through the centuries, in Germany there where at least 3'Weihnachtsm�nner'.
The first was Vater Thor, he was an old man with a long white beard,
dressed in red . He road thru the skis in a gold chariots pulled by
two white goats.
St. Nicholas ,a 4 th Century bishop of Myra Asia ,was known for his miracles and generosity ,became a Saint to children. His helper
is Knecht Ruprecht.
Nicholas day is celebrated on the 6. of Dec. The children set their
shoe in front of the door in the evening od Dec.5. and hoping
St. Nicholas brings them something sweet to eat. But if they where
bad children they may get a switch.
The Christkind is a young girl wearing a golden crown. She was a messenger from the Christ Child and personified the idea of giving gifts. This tradition happened in some areas around the same time that much of Germany separated from the Roman Catholic Church.
In more the southern part of Germany ,the three Thursday evenings before Christmas are knocking nights. The children going from house to house saying rhymes beginning with the word' knock'.
The children crack whips,ring cowbells to drive away evil spirits.