Christmas Celebration in Switzerland

Christmas in Switzerland

As in most other countries, Christmas Day is celebrated in the whole of Switzerland on December 25.

In Switzerland, Advent traditionally starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. Many children here take it on themselves to make the Advent Calendar, a calendar with 24 little flaps opening onto windows with images within a Christmas scene. The Advent Calendars are a significant part of the Swiss Christmas tradition. Another popular tradition is the Advent wreath, a green spruce garland having four candles on it, one for each of the Sundays in Advent. A single candle is lit on the first Sunday, two are lit on the second, three on the third and four on the fourth.

The Swiss Christmas celebrations have little dissmilarity with the observation of the festival in the United States and other western European nations. The customs here vary however, owing to the fact that there are German, French and Italian areas in the country.

The Christmas tree is usually decorated here on Christmas Eve evening. This is a time of joyous family celebration in the country. The tree is set up by adult members and adorned with small ornaments, candles or electric lights. Wrapped gifts are placed underneath. Also placed at the foot of the decorated tree is a creche complete with little figures from the Nativity scene.

In Switzerland, Christmas dinner is a Christmas Eve event. On the night of 24th December, all the members in a family treat themselves to a sumptuous Christmas dinner. Thereupon, everyone gathers around the Christmas tree and sings songs or hymns related to the occassion. Some read the passage concerning Jesus Christ's birth from the Holy Bible. Gifts are also exchanged. Many Swiss families go to local churches to attend the Midnight Mass. After the service, families gather to share hot chocolate and huge homemade doughnuts called "ringli".

Traditionally, children in Catholic areas believe in "Christkind" or "Le petit Jésus" as the bringer of their presents. This angelic figure is said to be a representation of the little Jesus. It is also believed to be the symbol of the angel in charge of the guiding star of Bethlehem. Depending on the region, Christmas gifts are exchanged on December 25, January 1 or January 6 (when the three Magi were said to have visited the Christ child). In the German-speaking region of the country, St Nicholas is thought to be the gift-bringer. He is believed to appear on December 6(St. Nicholas Day), and fill the shoes or boots of kids (kept out at night) with mandarin oranges, nuts and cookies.

Christmas in Switzerland

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