Sacramento German Genealogy Society
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Sunday, December 24
Heiligabend (Christmas Eve)  (Holiday)
December 24th begins as a regular workday. But by 2:00 pm, often even earlier, businesses close in preparation for the holiday celebration, a large part of which occurs on Christmas Eve in Germany.  The traditional evening meal includes carp and potato salad. Families sing Christmas carols together and may read the story of Christ's birth aloud.  Family members exchange gifts. The tradition of opening gifts on Heiligabend was started by Martin Luther in the 16th century in favor of a celebration than honored Christ rather than a Catholic saint. 


Monday, December 25
Weihnachten  (Holiday)
In preparation for Christmas, an Advent calendar is set up four Sundays before Christmas, and on December 6 the Weihnachtsmann (St. Nikolaus) arrives to fill children’s shoes. On Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) the Bescherung (exchanging of gifts) takes place. A big meal is served on Christmas day.



Monday, January 1, 2018
Neujahr (New Years Day)  (Holiday)
Winter celebrations have been common for thousands of years in Europe, tracing back to the need to entice the sun back to the earth during the long winters of the northern hemisphere. Until around 143 BCE, the ancient Roman New Year was celebrated on March 1 in the area that is now Germany.