The Twelve Days of Christmas, Bavarian-style (1)
On the first day of Christmas my Bavarian friend gave to me: a freshly cut tree.
Everything begins with the tree in Bavaria. Although there have been some inroads made upon this tradition with artificial trees, the majority of Bavarians still buy a real tree for Christmas. Since many of the trees are locally grown (Germans have some of the best forestry management on the planet) they tend to be very fresh. They are a bit pricey (sellers’ market), but of good shape and fullness. Some families in Bavaria still go out into the forest and cut down their own tree.
What is an unusual tradition to most of the English-speaking world is the fact that most trees are erected on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th), rarely before. This is done in preparation for the arrival of the Christ-child. Decorations on the tree in Bavaria are similar to those one might see in the UK or the USA, though there is a tendency to put a few more natural looking ornaments including fruits and nuts. Some still even burn real candles. They are generally taken down after the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day, Jan 6th).