How Do You Say Merry Christmas In Switzerland ?
Christmas is celebrated on December 25 all over the world. So is the case in Switzerland as well. However, there are certain customs and traditions that are specific to the country alone and stand apart from those followed during the festival celebration in the United States and other western European nations.
One reason for the variation in customs could be the presence of German, French and Italian areas in the country.As part of traditional norms, Advent commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. During this time, children are seen to be engrossed in making Advent calendars. This is a calendar with 24 flaps opening onto windows reflecting the scenario during Christmas. The Advent wreath is another important tradition. A green garland with four candles on it, one for each of the Sundays in Advent is required for this ritual. On the first Sunday, one candle is lit; two are lit on the second, three on the third and four on the fourth Sunday.
The Christmas Eve is marked by the decoration of the Christmas tree and the Christmas dinner. Both these are family events wherein all the members of the family get together and the atmosphere is full of festivity. The Christmas tree is decorated with candles or electric lights and ornaments; and gifts are kept below the tree. After an extravagant Christmas dinner, everyone sits near the Christmas tree. Family members sing songs and hymns or read passage from the Bible pertaining to the birth of Lord Jesus. Some families even attend the Midnight Mass.
At the start of the D day, people wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ in different languages. Switzerland has four official languages namely; German, French, Italian and Romantsch. Christmas is wished in German as ‘Frohe Weihnachten’, in French as ‘Joyeux Noël’, in Italian as ‘Buon Natale’ and in Romantsch as ‘Bella Festas daz Nadal’. Since the German in Switzerland is spoken a little differently, therefore in Swiss German the expression ‘Frohe Weihnachten’ transforms into ‘Frohi Wiehnacht’. After the service, families feast on hot chocolate and homemade doughnuts called ‘ringli’.
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