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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christkind: yesterday & today

* The old tradition

In Germany, the Christkind, or Christmas Angel, leaves presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. The old tradition depicted Christkind as a child with blond hair and angelic wings.
The figure of Christkind was originally introduced in the 16th century by religious reformer Martin Luther; until then, it was always Saint Nicholas who brought gifts on December 6th. But as Protestants can’t have saints, Luther needed a new Christmas tradition for his followers. Luther moved the gift-giving away from December 6th, so he reinvented the tradition for Protestants by moving it to Christmas Eve and making the Christkind – really, the baby Jesus – the person who brought the gifts.
* The traditional image changes

Under the rule of the National Socialists, the image of Christkind was changed and in 1933, a young girl dressed like a tinsel angel opened the city’s Christmas Market for the first time. The change took place due to marketing reasons: as an advertising technique, the Germans found it very difficult to make baby Jesus give away Christmas presents!

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