Culture  When our friends from Switzerland celebrate Christmas
17/12/201503:00 TV5MONDE

As Switzerland is a mix of four different cultures, Christmas celebrations share many of the customs from its neighbors Germany, Austria, France and Italy. 

People like to prepare an advent wreath 4 weeks before Christmas. Four candles are placed on the wreath with each candle representing one week. One candle is lit on the first Sunday; two are lit on the second Sunday and so on until Christmas. 

Many Christmas markets are also held all over Switzerland during the Advent season, offering Glühwein (mulled wine), raclette, Zigerkrapfen (fried pastry filled with a cream cheese filling...), Lebkuchen (spice bread) and much more... Most of the people also hang a proper advent calendar in their homes, which include 24 flaps or windows opening on chocolates, gifts or images. To know more about advent calendar, click here.

In Switzerland, people are celebrating the St Nicholas, on December 6th. There, he is called Samichlaus in Swiss German and his black-clad companion is called Schmutzli. Where Santa represents the Good,  Schmutzli represents the dark side and roams about the streets listening to poems recited by wide-eyed children. After that, Samichlaus allows them to reach deep into his bag for a smattering of tangerines, nuts or gingerbread

On the evening of December 24th, it is time for family gathering and celebrations. Children get to see the entire splendor of the decorated Christmas tree for the first time. Swiss people prefer to light their tree with (real) candles rather than with electric artificial lights. This is the reason why the glow is very spectacular!
The electric lights that are used to decorate Swiss Christmas trees usually emit a warm and yellowish light, much warmer than the blinking coloured lights often seen in the United States and Britain.

Swiss people love to sing Christmas songs, gospel. They also exchange presents and eat their delicious Swiss food...

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