23 December 2013

German Symbolism at Christmas

I enjoy going to Christkindlmarket in Chicago at Christmastime and getting in touch with my German heritage. Christkindlmarket is set up much like a German Christmas market is.  It has delightful little shops selling everything from glass ornaments, to nutcrackers, to German baked goods, to wood carvings and more.

Cute wood carvings at Christkindlmarket in Chicago.

I went this year with my daughter, Kirsten, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I bought a pickle!  I imagine many of you have heard about the legend of the Christmas Pickle.  I have never had one and thought it was time to add one to my heritage tree.  A German tradition is to hide a glass pickle in the Christmas tree.  On Christmas Day, everyone searches for the pickle.  The person who finds the pickle first, gets an extra gift.

Other symbolism of Christmas decorations can be found in ornaments.  The middle of the 19th century found Christmas trees decorated with glass Christmas balls and ornament figures.  These figures had a meaning of their own. It was a sign of their wishes and dreams.  The following is the symbolism of ornaments:

  • heart-symbol of love
  • teapot-hospitality
  • flower-beauty
  • fish-goods blessing
  • owl-symbol of wisdom
  • gift package-charity
  • bells-prevent bad luck
  • ladybug-talisman, mojo
  • rabbit-hope and faith
  • grape-friendship and sociability
  • nutcracker-get awareness
  • bird-joy and happiness
  • angel-protection and a blessed home
  • fruits-generosity and good harvest
  • Santa Claus-goodness and courtesy
  • pine cones-fertility and motherhood
  • house-shelter and protection
  • frog-upgrade and success in business
  • flower basket-good wishes
  • star-hope and a kind destiny  
How many of these symbols do you have on your tree?  I have a few.  I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas.

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