We have a Christmas tradition in Germany. It starts around early to mid September, shops take out their decorations (since there’s no Thanksgiving and only a little Halloween we can plunge directly into the Christmas joy) and the first Lebkuchen appear. An it always starts with this. Wham!
The first time you hear it it feels like
What the f*** it’s bloody September.
By early December you go
If I hear this again I’ll scream, really!
By Christmas time there’s no reaction anymore. The sound is just ignored like it’s not even there.
Today, December 17th I’ve heard the song for the first time in the 2012 holiday season. Being far from home, having no holiday spirit yet it even feels nice. And mind you it wasn’t even the panpipe version like they have here so often in Guatemala.
Crib procession and fireworks
That’s our tradition. People in Xela have another. They decorate a Christmas crib, with flowers, blinking lights, Maria, Josef, animals but no baby Jesus yet. They have a procession every night for nine nights coming up Christmas. Blowing whistles, carrying candles, having some fireworks (immensely important here! Kids -yes- sell them in the street or the markets). They carry the crib to a person’s home where it’s displayed for friends and family to visit until next night when it’s carried to someone else’s home.
We passed by one of these homes the other day and a nice lady invited us to come in and watch and follow them to he next home some time later. She asked us if we were catholic. We denied. She asked us what our religion might me. We said we had none. She looked at us like that’s not a real thing and invited us in anyway. Anton was fascinated by the crib and the lights, blinking playing Christmas melodies like in tacky greeting cards. That night Anton asked for a bedtime story.
Can you tell me about the crib and everything how Jesus was born?
So back to our tradition, just pretend you haven’t heard it this year.