Advent season 2017 is fast approaching, and for most people that means the same comforting family traditions that lead up to Christmas every year. The Engel & Völkers family spans 32 countries across four continents, so we’ve decided to share some of the most interesting, odd and exciting traditions we’ve encountered. And – who knows – perhaps you’ll discover a new tradition to bring home.
This festival translates as ‘The Inns’, and every evening between 16 and 24 December a procession of costumed youngsters commemorates Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay. During this period, families decorate their homes with advent-themed piñatas, which the children break after the procession. Increasingly popular worldwide, piñatas could be a colourful treat for any household during advent season 2017.
The wreath is a common sight in Christian countries during advent, but those of you who love the smell of freshly baked bread in your home will enjoy this particular Danish tradition. Because, rather than make their wreaths out of evergreens like pine or holly, the Danes bake theirs. You can find recipes for Jule brød across the internet if you fancy an edible advent idea this year.
Many countries have celebrations honouring St. Nicholas, the man who would morph into Santa Claus. We chose Germany, however, because their tradition is one we can all enjoy. On 5 December, the house is cleaned from top to toe. Then the children of the house (and any big kids) polish their shoes and leave them out for St. Nicholas, often with a letter and a carrot for his horse. In the morning, good children will find their shoes filled with sweet treats. What better way to get the little ones to clean the house for advent 2017?
When it comes to ensuring children behave well, disciplinarians might prefer the Krampus. In Germanic folklore, Krampus is Santa’s rather aggressive accomplice who beats naughty children and carries them away in a basket on his back. In Austria, parades filled with costumed Krampus impersonators are extremely popular.
Krampus-themed household décor is available for those of you who want to bring home a little reminder of what happens to mischievous kids in advent season 2017.
Candle-lighting forms a part of advent rituals worldwide, but few achieve the spectacle of Columbia’s ‘Day of the Little Candles’. On 7 December, locals celebrate the Immaculate Conception with thousands of small candles. This is a tradition that can create a wonderfully effective atmosphere in your home with just a simple selection of tea lights.
If you’re planning on adopting new traditions for advent season, you might be interested in some ideas to make your home cosy. After all, advent is a time of celebration, and everyone should feel warm and comfortable.