Winter in Germany – Ore Mountains
Origins of German winter traditions
Imagine a mining community in a German around 100 years ago. Winter meant the men working in the mines would not see daylight for weeks on end, spending all daylight hours under ground. They cherished the light in a way we can no longer appreciate today. And yet, the traditions that originate in this dark past still bring joy each winter.
In the Ore Mountains mining was the main source of income for most families at that time. That is why you can find a high concentration of unique craft around bringing light into dark homes. Wooden candle arches Schwibbogen with candles are placed in every window, for example in Schneeberg.
Villages of snow and lights
In Rothenkirchen you can find Kuhnert turners. In their shop they sell traditional handmade figurines, tree ornaments and wooden pyramids from several local craftsmen. The price tag gives an indication of the work involved in making these pieces. Picture villages covered in snow with these beautiful decorations in every house.
They start putting them up at the beginning of the Christmas season and leave them until around the first week of the New Year. After Epiphany most will disappear for the next eleven months to be carefully stored away. Given their value many have been handed down for generations. Their light is warmer than the modern LED decorations, which adds to the ambiance.
Ornaments made for winter in Germany
In many villages you will find gigantic Christmas pyramids outdoors. Usually they are the center pieces of the infamous Christmas markets, for example in Seiffen. They have become synonymous for winter in Germany. At these markets everywhere in this region you will find the famous hand painted Christmas tree ornaments made in Lauscha.
I had the pleasure of spending some time here in early January and highly recommend to put winter in Germany, especially the Ore Mountains on your bucket list. It is something everybody should see at least once in their life. Where is your favorite winter destination and why? Comment below!