This page is dedicated to the cultural celebrations of Christmas within Europe...
It is from Italy that the popular nativity scene originated, and because such an important part of Christmas tradition comes from Italy, they take their celebrations to the extreme.
Babbo Natale, or Father Christmas, visits the little children on January 6th.
It is always a fun and exiting time for the people of Italy, but when Christmas mass comes along it is solemn within the church walls, celebrating proudly the birth of Christ.
Advent, a German tradition, starts on the first Sunday after November 26th. The four weeks that follow are dedicated to preparations for Christmas, which is celebrated after the four Advent Sundays.
From the start of Advent, booths and stalls are set up in all of the market places across Germany where you can buy whatever it is you could need or want for the Christmas season.
On December 6th, which is St. Nicholas Eve, children set out one shoe for St. Nicholas to leave candy to the good and twigs for the bad.
Another important tradition is the Advent Wreath, which is a wreath made of bound fir twigs upon which four candles, red or yellow in color, are attached, one for each Advent Sunday. On each Sunday a new candle is lit. Fir and pinecones, mushrooms, and ribbons are also fastened to the green of the wreath for decoration.
And not to forget the unquestionable centerpiece of the entire Christmas season--the Christmas Tree, which is decorated with everything from candles to edible bulbs spun of sugar. It is believed that the decorating of the Christmas Tree begun in pre-Christian Germany. It was called the "Paradise Baum" or the Tree of Paradise, and symbolized the Garden of Eden. Adorning the tree with cookies, fruit, candles, glass bulbs, and, eventually, electric lights, was adopted by other countries from Germany.