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Word of the Week: Bescherung

The Christmas countdown continues: only a few days left until the magical day! German kids continue to open their Advent calendar doors as American children eagerly wait for Santa Claus to arrive and make their wishes come true. So what happens on Christmas Eve (in Germany) and Christmas Day (in the United States)? The Bescherung, of course!

The Bescherung is a noun that refers to the traditional custom of the festive holiday gift exchange. This word is used in the context of Christmas — not birthdays or other gift-giving holidays. Children, in particular, look forward to the Bescherung — but even adults eagerly await it. The Bescherung is more than just receiving gifts; it comes with festivities, warmth and togetherness.

This is a very old word that came from Middle High German, but some Germans continue to use it to describe the gift-giving tradition on Christmas.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany


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