Have you ever made...

your own Gingerbread?

This famous Christmas treat was originally brought to Europe in 992 by an Armenian monk. Since then it has spread throughout mainland Europe and also to Britain. There are many different varieties of Gingerbread available today. In Germany there is a soft type called “Lebkuchen” and a harder sort which is often cut into shapes and then decorated with icing sugar.

If you feel like making your own version of this famous biscuit, here is a recipe for you: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/gingerbread_men_99096

• tsp = teaspoon, Teelöffel

• 4 oz / ounces = 125 Gramm

• tbsp = tablespoon, Eßlöffel

• flour = Mehl

• bicarbonate of soda = Backpulver

• dough = Teig

• stir and knead = rühren und kneten

• ginger = Ingwer

• gingerbread = Lebkuchen

• icing sugar = Puderzucker

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Have you ever sung ...

the famous carol "Oh Tannenbaum" in English?

The current lyrics of this German folksong were written in 1824 by the organist and composer Ernst Anschütz. But before that, this song was not associated with Christmas. In the original version the faithful, evergreen tree was set in contrast with a faithless, departed lover. For this reason the leaves of the tree were praised for being treu and not grün. The word was changed after the song became associated with Christmas. So this year, if you like, you can sing the first verse of this Christmas carol in English!   

 

“Oh Tannenbaum” in English

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

How lovely are your branches! (Zweige)

In beauty green will always grow

Through summer sun and winter snow.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

How lovely are your branches!

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When do you...

unpack your gifts on Christmas?

In Germany it is common to celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. However in Britain this is merely Christmas Eve and the real celebration happens on the 25th with a big family dinner and afterwards present giving.

It is believed that Jesus was born during the night of the 24th and this is commemorated in many parts of the world through church related observances like Evening Vespers or Midnight Mass. Other widespread traditions related to Christmas include putting up an advent wreath, decorating a tree and hanging up stockings for Santa Claus or Father Christmas. 

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When is...

New Year celebrated?

Even though most of the world’s population celebrates on the 1st of January, there are some cultures where the New Year starts on another date.

In Ethiopia, the New Year is called Enkutatash and they celebrate it at the end of the summer rainy season on the 11th of September.

In Cambodia, it is called Chaul Chnam Thmey and is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April. The party lasts for three days!

In China, the New Year is based on the first day of the lunar calendar. The exact date in the solar calendar is corrected every three years, but it is normally celebrated between the 20th of January  and the 20th of February.

In the Gwaun Valley in Wales the New Year is celebrated on the 13th of January. This date is based on the Roman Julian calendar which was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.

There are many other dates on which different cultures around the world celebrate New Year, but the list is too long to include all of them here!