Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north. The principality of Liechtenstein is divided into eleven municipalities (Gemeinden – singular Gemeinde), most consisting of only a single town. Its capital is Vaduz and the largest city Schaan.
Christmas Celebrations in Liechtenstein :
In Liechtenstein, the Christmas season starts around December 6th or 7th. Most of Liechtenstein’s customs come from the Catholic religious calendar, although some stem from Pagan origins. The alpine winter does mean that the ‘Silvester’ parties are not as prominent as in other towns and cities like Balzers, Schellenberg, Ruggell, Triesenberg and Liechtenstein.
Just after Fasnacht the population burn the winter witches on very tall bonfires on the Funken Sonntag. This is obviously one of the pagan celebrations carried over to the modern day. After Lent, comes Easter, and this is celebrated in a very traditional way. Church is generally still at the centre of the community for Easter, and it is not uncommon to find children hunting for Easter eggs around the gardens of Liechtenstein. In May, Liechtensteiners enjoy a number of bank holidays, all linked to religious holidays, and with the improving weather, many locals can be found on the mountain paths enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.
On the 6th December, St Nikolaus wandering through the streets of the villages of Liechtenstein, accompanied by Schwarzen Peter (Black Peter). They visit the children giving the good ones fruit and sweets and the naughty children are threatened with a piece of coal. Christmas markets are very popular at this time of year, finishing just before the festivities. They are in no way as large as their German counterparts, but they are fun events, nonetheless. Christmas itself is a family affair, the Christmas tree normally being erected after the children go to bed on the 23rd. The living rooms (where possible) are locked during Christmas Eve and only after a family dinner do the children get to see the decorations and their presents.
Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, usually a family member or friend in costume, visits each household and tells the children who have been good and who has been bad. Then the children tell him what they want the Christmas Angel to bring them on Christmas Eve. In Liechtenstein it is an angel, the “Christkindli”, and not Santa Claus who makes the gifts magically appear under the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is brought home about two weeks before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the tree is decorated and they put out their presents that they brought. Then the children go to bed all excited because they don’t now what the “Christkindli” might bring them. Some families open their presents on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day. Christmas is also a time to visit relatives in other villages and to exchange greetings and presents.
How do you say Merry Christmas in Liechtenstein? – “Frohliche Weihnachten!”
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!