Ihnen wünsche ich vom Herzen eine schöne und erholsame Weihnachtszeit.
Wir sehen uns im neuen Jahr! Ihnen auch einen guten Rutsch!
Growing up, I never really understood the difference. I even got an Advent calendar from my grandmother every year, but nobody ever explained to me the difference very clearly.
So you can imagine that it was a bit of a shock when I moved to Germany and found out: «Advent ist nicht Weihnachten!».
No, Advent is *not* Christmas. It is the time before Christmas.
Here's how I learned the difference. I used to conduct a small choir in Germany and they were very clear with me, because I didn't even understand this differentiation and I asked them to sing a Christmas song for an Advent concert.
Whoops. Wrong request, Frau Warner!
The response from the choir was clear: One may not sing Christmas songs during Advent. And one ceases singing Advent songs when Christmas arrives.
Fast forward a few years and many experiences later, and it is clear to me that Advent is a time of anticipation and of waiting. In Germany this time is approached specifically with a few wonderful traditions. One of these is the Adventskranz or Advent wreath. Here are three ideas for you to make your own.
This year Advent starts on Sunday, December 1. That's this Sunday.
Lassen Sie sich inspirieren! Let yourself be inspired!
Oktoberfest is almost here--this year it's September 21st through Oktober 6th--only ten days away!
Pack up your Dirndl, your Lederhosen, your Maß and your Handy, and make sure you take enough cash with you. This year one liter of Bier costs anywhere from EUR 11,40 to EUR 15,90. A soda costs at least EUR 8 in any tent, plus you're going to need some fabulous Bavarian food to sustain you through all the rides and singing.
So what if you're going to Oktoberfest but you don't speak German?
Then, ladies and gents, all you need are the three phrases listed below.
Hallo ihr Lieben,
diese Woche mache ich Urlaub. Ich mache einen Fahrradurlaub! Hurra!
(Damit Sie Bescheid wissen: ich trage immer einen Fahrradhelm, wenn ich mit dem Fahrrad fahre. Das sollen Sie auch immer machen.)
Ich lese diese Woche keine E-Mails und beantworte keine Nachrichten.
Freizeit muss auch sein!
At the end of the year a lot of Germans use the phrase zwischen den Jahren. Between the years?! That's not possible!
Or is it?
There are two things you need to know about this phrase zwischen den Jahren.
A lot of German offices shut down on Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) and don't open again until after Neujahr (New Year's Day). That means all their everything must be done on December 23rd! Since they won't be back to work until the new year has begun, then they have finished one year of business and they are truly "between the years" when they go home on December 23rd!
Some offices stay closed even longer, they take off through Heilige Drei Könige (Epiphany), which is the 6th of January. So they stay closed for a full two weeks or even longer, depending on how the days fall on the calendar.
Germans sure do know how to take a break, that's for sure.
Because I also don't work zwischen den Jahren. I wrote this blog post on December 20th and pre-scheduled it.
Industrious quasi-German that I am. ;-)
I'm finally taking a break and you should, too!
It has been a very full year here at GermanWithNicole.com and in my personal life. There have been hundreds of hours of lessons this year, I moved (yet again, but I'm done for a good long while), finished everything in my certification course work except for one research paper, spent a lot of time outside (es war so toll!) and I successfully reached my one goal for this blog for 2017: to blog once a week for the entire year.
Blogging once weekly is a chunk of work and I can hardly imagine what it would be to blog three times a week or even every day. I blog because I want people to learn German. I want them to learn it for real, not just learn to talk about German. I want people to understand what German culture is and what it isn't. And if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be here writing this tonight.
So to you go my thanks and my gratefulness for this year. Thank you for writing to me in support, for telling me your stories and be sure to keep it coming! It's a huge boost when you email me, rate the articles and open those newsletters because I know for every click there's a real person reading it.
I'll be back in 2018 with new ideas, a new plan, and new posts. And a new one goal for this blog for 2018. Until then...
Today is the first day of Hanukkah (or Chanukka...no matter which way you spell it, it's the Festival of Lights!) It's the perfect opportunity for you to learn about Chanukka - auf Deutsch!
Currently there are approximately 98,500 members of Jewish communities in Germany. These members are a part of about 110 Jewish communities all around Germany, which you can read about here.
Here is a free pdf of Hanukkah terms that covers everything from the Dreidl to powdered donuts!
When you've learned the vocabulary words, try reading this short article on Chanukka.
Want to try your hand at baking Sufganijot? Try this German recipe here.
2017 is a huge year for Germans: they get an extra national holiday, Reformationstag. It's the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door, which turned out to be a pillar event of the Reformation movement.
An extra national holiday means that everybody gets an extra day off work. Everything's going to be closed, however I suspect a lot of churches might have more visitors than usual.
So how does this make a 5-day weekend for Germans? Here's how:
Saturday and Sunday are normal weekend days. Tuesday is Reformationstag and also Halloween, which means that Wednesday, November 1st is Allerheiligen (All Saints' Day), which is also a holiday in 5 German states (Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland). Anyone who planned a vacation day for Monday, October 30th is taking a Brückentag, a bridge day, "bridging" the weekend to the Feiertag. So with one day of vacation a lot of folks extended their 2-day weekend to make it a 5-day weekend.
What are they going to do with all that time on their hands?!