Alsace - Christmas Traditions
The region of Alsace at Christmastime, transforms into a marvelous world made of legends, tradtions, myths, smells and tastes. Visitors are always very impressed.
Cities and villages are illuminated with thousands of lights and dress in their finest with twinkling decorations. All the region takes on a festive atmosphere. Starting on November 25, the day of Saint Catherine, the excitement builds over the next four weeks and finishes quietly on January 6, the day of the Epiphany.
In the middle ages, on December 24, a fir tree was placed in the church, as the tree of life for the reenactment of the story of Adam and Eve, with apples used as the forbidden fruit. They also attached wafers, the symbol of the Eucharist. The parishioners placed trees, decorated in the same manner, in their homes in the beginning of the 16th century. The first trees were hung from the ceiling.
In 1858, there was a drought in Alsace so there was no fruit to decorate the trees. A glass blower from Goetzenbruck was thus inspired to create the first glass Christmas ornaments. He started a tradition that has travelled to many cultures throughout the world. The Meisenthal International Center of Glass Art will exhibit glass Christmas ornaments, that have been created since this time. Workshops, demonstrations and visits are available through the Tourist Offices in northern Alsace.
For more information on the Christmas activities throughout Alsace please consult the special Christmas in Alsace website.