Celebrating Winter in Bavaria (2012)

I’m linking to Donna at Gardens Eye View today, who hosts “Seasonal Celebrations“, a meme where people from all over the world are invited to tell how they celebrate each season, sharing traditions and celebrations in pictures and words.


‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk…

From “A Nocturnal Upon St Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” by John Donne


As the days get darker and shorter in the weeks leading up to the winter solstice, activity tends to move indoors; the winter baking season begins – mince pies for my British palate and traditional German cookies – filling the house with warm spicy aromas; books that have been piling up on the shelf are picked up and reading becomes a cosy necessity; the remaining flowers are brought indoors to be cosseted; and the fireplace will soon be my favourite place to sit.

Christmas baking

Once the fire is lit – when the central heating can no longer keep the house warm – this Barbara branch will have to be moved to a cooler spot. It is a tradition in Germany to cut branches of fruit or nut trees, or Forsythia, on St Barbara’s Day (4th December) and bring them into the house to flower by Christmas.


We usually have some snow before Christmas, although it doesn’t always hang around. This year surprised us with a sprinkling at the end of October, but the first REAL snow fell just before the beginning of Advent – bang on time for the opening of the Christmas markets. The markets add colour, warmth and aroma to any shopping trip… imagine the smell of spicy roasted almonds, cinnamon crepes, mulled wine and punch, not to mention roasting chestnuts…


Some of you have perhaps heard of the famous Christkindlemarkt in Nuremburg, but a small town may have just one weekend of market stands in Advent, attracting the locals to stock up on baking ingredients, drink some hot punch with friends and neighbours, invest in some woollen socks or just pick out a few new decorations for the tree.


Since November and December are so gloomy and foggy in this central Bavarian region, due to the weather patterns around the River Danube and surrounding waterways, the snow really brightens things up…

Winter Greenery

On 21st December 2012 the solstice will be at midday (Central European Time) and on this day only 7 hours 48 minutes of “sunlight” can be recorded. If you live in the Alps you may be fortunate enough to actually see this sunlight too! When the sun does break through the clouds the landscape here looks simply magical. The woodland covered hills coated in sparkly snow are an uplifting sight.


In winter every single ray of sunshine or hint of colour is relished…


And every single sunshiny moment is a delight…

(This is the Professor, in case you haven’t met him before)


Advent is a very cosy time of year here, and is enjoyed with candlelight and cookies. (Christmas doesn’t really arrive until the tree is brought into the house a few days before Christmas Eve.)

This is our Christmas tree, standing proud in the garden…


With just a few days to go before the solstice, here are some typical sayings for a Bavarian December – roughly translated!

Friert’s am kürzesten Tag im Jahr, ist’s an Weihnachten hell und klar.

Frost on the shortest day of the year, Christmas will be bright and clear.


Ist Sankt Lazarus nackt und bar, gibt es einen linden Februar.

St Lazarus (Dec 17th) without snow and dry, brings a mild February.


Wenn der St. Thomas dunkel war, gibt’s ein schönes neues Jahr.

A dark St Thomas Day (Dec 21st) means a good new year. (!)


35 thoughts on “Celebrating Winter in Bavaria (2012)

    • Hi Robin! The snow has been wonderful, but by Sunday it’s going to start warming up they say, so probably no white Christmas. Thanks for commenting – have a lovely Christmas!

    • I can see that tree from my breakfast table and the squirrels are often playing in it! It’s such a lovely shape, and so tall, it will hopefully stand for a long time to come. Thanks for your nice comment Susie!

  1. Absolutely beautiful photos: am especially taken with the Village [?] one with a hiilside behind . . . beautiful childhood memories coming forth from my mind 🙂 ! Am frustrated that I have never been to any of the famous Christmas markets: always in Europe March > September 😦 !

    • Perhaps you’ll make it here in the winter here one day yet… But I know of at least two Christmas shops that are open all year round for the tourists!

  2. Cathy I am so honored to have you link in to the meme…these traditions are so special and what I love about this time of year….you are in amazing place with beauty, wonderful culture and traditions and delicious food.

    • Thank you my dear Uta. It is so very cold today, but sunny! 😀 Probably not a white Christmas though, as they’ve forecast a thaw soon. 😦

    • We had sunshine today, and a wintry sky. Candlelight is so perfect at this time of year. I will also light some candles this evening. Thanks for your comment, and have a cosy evening by the fire!

  3. wow this is so rich your newest post, full of good will, we did not have sunshine only grey sky so more I love your pics today. Love to you Cathy and a big thank you!

  4. I used to long to travel the world, pine away as they would say. But then I discovered blogging and TA DA the world was here…live and beautiful and full of color! Thank you so much for the very interesting and much appreciated post! Your Christmas tree is outstanding,,,a perfect Christmas card!


    ¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

    • I feel that too – the whole world at my fingertips! I can see parts of the globe I’d never heard of! Glad you enjoyed seeing a bit of my corner of the globe! 😀

    • The traditions are lovely here Marie. But I do love English traditions around Christmastime too – will miss them this year as I’m staying here for Christmas for the first time!

  5. Pingback: Gardens Eye View » Blog Archive » Seasonal Celebrations Revealed-December 2012

  6. I came through Donna’s link. Enjoyed your post, and about all your traditions. I especially love your tradition of cutting the tree branches so they will bloom by Christmas. And the snowy pictures are magical.

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