December is a peculiar time in Brazil, because everything is heading towards Christmas and this just doesn’t feel right in the Brazilian weather (as the head of the heard wrote and I have to agree). And that the holiday has mainly become a shopping event is not different here in Brazil than in Germany (or any other western county, I suppose). So there are Christmas decoration in the streets and in the shops, Christmas itself is one giant feast of consumerism and there is no store, that does not have a bearded Santa or some snowmen or a some other Christmas related stuff. It is quite disconcerting to see all this cold-weather-based images (Santa in a heavy jacket, snowmen, snowflakes and so on) in the heat of the summer or on the beach. But since I have never been a big fan of Christmas, I don’t mind the lack of Christmas mood on my side.
>In Germany people wish each other a “besinnliche Weihnachtszeit” or simply Marry Christmas. “Besinnlich” means contemplative – to calm down, to reflect upon yourself and your life – and so the time before Christmas could be a time to take things easy before the big feast. I find this very amusing, because it is quite the opposite: the most hectic and stressful time of the year. At work people have to finish things before Christmas, which for some companies is also the end of the year, or because between Christmas and New Year’s Eve things slow down considerably. Then there is the stress of shopping, buying things for your family, relatives and friends in stores that are packed with people who have the same idea. Then you have to start to prepare Christmas, because in Germany people bake special Christmas cookies in December or the traditional and very tasty “Stollen” – a sweet bread made with dried fruit and often marzipan, resembling the Panettone you can find everywhere in the State of São Paulo during Christmas time. And even though there are some traditions I do miss in Brazil, lets start with the opposite. Let’s start with the notorious Christmas Market (“Weihnachtsmarkt”).
Christmas Markets in Germany
December in Germany is cold and dark, when you work normal office hours there is a good chance that you won’t see any daylight outside your office. Then there are the clouds, the absence of sunlight. With this in mind it makes a lot of sense to me that people decorate their houses and gardens with lights, trying to make the long, dark monthes a little brighter. But I have never understood the tradition of Christmas Markets which you can find in every city, usually there are even a couple of them on public places or in front of shopping malls.
Christmas Markets are decorated for Christmas (of course), wooden stalls with many lights sell overprized crap or identical and low-quality food as well as warm wine, which is treated as a tradition but does only one thing: cause headache. Why people want to meet outside in the cold to drink a usually terribly tasting drink which will most likely caus a headache the next morning I could never understand. But I cheerfully appreciate the absence of Christmas Markets here in Santos and I beg you: please Brazil, don’t start with this nonsense!