by: Theresa Herrmann
On December 06 – St. Nicholas’ Day – University of Erfurt’s Young European Federalists group presented an evening to get into the Christmas mood – the European Fairy Tale Night. It took place in Café DuckDich, the venue of countless Café International gatherings. The two preceding nights we had baked Christmas cookies en masse. At the same evening, our fellow student Maikel Nabil spoke at an Amnesty International event and one of the Brandt School’s soccer teams had a match; nevertheless, several WBS students joined the Fairy Tale Night during the course of the evening and sat together long after the end of the presentations.
In a cozy atmosphere, the audience was invited to find out how Christmas is celebrated in Germany, Italy, Russia, and the USA. In addition, the presenters (lecturers, students, and exchange students) read fairy tales, stories, or poems from their countries in their native languages. Brandt School student Maria from Russia was one of the presenters. She told us why New Year’s Eve is a much bigger celebration in Russia than Christmas and showed us the cartoon that traditionally keeps Russian children busy while the adults are preparing the food. Furthermore, we watched videos of impressive light and music installations around houses in the US and got to know about the Swabian tradition of “Christbaumloben” (‘complimenting Christmas trees’ – namely the ones of your neighbors, with the actual intention of drinking schnapps together).
While Christmas traditions are diverse across Europe, the holiday season is about coming together with family and friends, and often an occasion to look back at the year. And with this I hope everyone had happy holidays, a relaxing Christmas break, and a good start into 2013.