[Christine O’Keeffe’s Christmas Customs]
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Austrian Customs:
Christmas markets called Christkindlmarkt: Christ Child Markets open up in December. They sell weihnachtsbaum: christmas trees, ornaments, decorations, gingerbread, candles, chess sets, dolls, roasted chestnuts, pretzels, sausages, wreaths, calendars, and gifts. Children go from door to door reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem, called Herbergsuchen: Hostel Searching. The song for it is called Wer Klopfet An? -Whose Knocking? The Christkindl: Christ Child brings christmas presents on Christmas eve and decorates the tannenbaum: fir tree with: apples, tangerines, wax stars, straw angels or birds, silver and gold garlands, tinsel, wafers, candies, candles, nuts, meringue cookies, sugar, paper roses, and krippe, a manger scene. The Paradeisbaum: Paradise Tree, a symbol of the Garden of Eden, decorated with apples and fruit is seen in the medieval morality plays describing Adam and Eve’s fall. German & Austrians can refer to a Christmas tree as a Paradeisbaum. (1)
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