Deutsche Weihnachtsmuseum

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Herrngasse1, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany - +49 9861 409365

Deutsche Weihnachtsmuseum Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reviews

sarahsan sarahsan
403 reviews
An insight in the magical history of Christmas Dec 15, 2013
The Deutsche Weihnachtsmuseum or the German Christmas museum is located in the Käthe Wohlfahrt's Weihnachtsdorf (Christmas Village) at the market square. You have to enter the museum through the Christmas shop. It cost €1 to enter the shop. If you visit the museum it is deductible from the museum entrance fee.

I expected a museum with only a collection of Christmas ornaments displayed. It was so much more. It had an interesting story of how we started to celebrate Christmas, a variety of ornaments made from different types of material, the lights on the Christmas tree (candles to electrical lights), Christmas tree stands, Christmas cards, advent calenders, incense, Santas, Christmas cakes and cookies, nutcrackers and German Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden).

Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, was fixed in the 4th century as being 25th December. The first Christmas was celebrated in 397 in Constantinople. In the 12th century the adoration of baby Jesus began. Until the 14th century the celebration of the birth of Jesus remaind firmly in the hands of the Church. It was not until this time that Christmas became an important festival in the nunneries, with its own rites. It took centuries before Christmas became a popular family festival.

The first evidence of a decorated Christmas tree is dated 1419, when the Freiburg Guild of Bakers put up a tree in a hospital. Initially they were put up on Guilds and social rooms, but not yet in private homes. The trees were decorated with apples, nuts, confectioners' wafers and cookies. Sometimes also with cheese and sausages.

After 1600 the decorated Christmas tree spread gradually to the middle class homes in the towns and into aristocratic society. The first report of a Christmas tree decorated with candles were in 1708. Bee-wax candles were expensive and only to be found in rich households. In 1830, the first illuminated tree was put up at the court of Berlin and in the Munich Residence of King Ludwig I, in 1832 in London and in 1840 in Paris. The light bulb was invented in 1879. Three years later the first light bulbs were used on Christmas trees in the USA. These were initially only used for public installed trees and were not used domestically until after 1900.

From around 1870 an industry gradually developed, which specialized in the production of Christmas tree decorations. These were made of glass, paper, cardboard, cotton, wool, pewter, wax, wood, tragacanth, marzipan etc. The trees were lavishly decorated. A magazine stated in 1893: "The tree must shine, glitter, sparkle and dazzle so that you must shade your eyes".

Father Christmas and Santa Claus. Two figures are unified in the Christmas figur of Nikolaus. Bishop Nikolaus of Myra, lived in the 4th century, and Nicolaus of Sion, who died in 564. In earlier centuries the feast of St Nikolaus on 6th December was the main day when children received their presents. He was replaced by the "Holy Christ" as a bearer of gifts, who developed into the "Christ Child". In the beginning of the 19th century it developed further into the figur of Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

The first Christmas cards appeared around 1860 and it was not until the end of the 19th century it asserted itself as a greetings card. The first historical reference to an advent calendar is not found until 1851 and it was 24 pictures displayed on a wall. In 1908 the advent calendar was produced in quantities.

I can highly recommend the German Christmas Museum. It's is a lovely and interesting tour through the magic of Christmas.
Christmas tree around 1870-1890
Christmas trees in 1900 and 1920
Wooden forms for spiced cakes arou…
Moulds for chocolate Father Christ…
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
alyssa_ob says:
Wow, very cool! I know I went to the store in 2004, but I don't remember visiting the museum. I wonder why not? Very nicely done history of Christmas!
Posted on: Dec 20, 2013
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