Worldwide Holiday Celebrations as Told by Promega Employees: Part II

Again, Happy Holidays from Promega employees around the world! We hope you enjoyed the first part of this special holiday blog in which several Promega branch employees shared their country’s holiday traditions. In part II we continue with yet more global traditions and cheer.

Germany
Christian Walczuch, Public Relations for Promega GMBH

In preparation for Weihnachten (Christmas), many families celebrate Advent. This is a time of religious preparation for the 24th, Heiligabend (holy evening or Christmas Eve). Traditional advent activities include the Adventskranz (Advent wreath), which is set up on the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day, or the beginning of the season. Four candles adorn the wreath, and a new one is lit each week. Children also enjoy the advent calendar which contains twenty-four doors (one for each day of December leading up to Christmas). Children open one door each day and find a chocolate treat awaiting them. Many of the calendars also include pictures inside the doors, often Christmas-related.

As in Benelux and Switzerland, a significant part of the Christmas build-up occurs on 6 December, or Nikolaustag, a day commemorating Saint Nicholas. On the evening of 5 December children in Germany place a Nikolausstiefel (a boot or a shoe) in front of the street door. Overnight, the Nikolaus, a figure similar in appearance to Santa Claus in the USA, visits the house and fills the boots with sweets and sometimes even smaller presents if the children were good; otherwise they are left with only a rute (a cane composed of birch twigs).

Christkindlesmarkt_nuernbergDuring the Christmas period, the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market)  becomes a feature of almost every city in the German-speaking countries, town or village, where visitors enjoy stalls, entertainment, and savour food and Glühwein (mulled wine). Famous Christmastime treats include Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Stollen (fruit cake), and Marzipan (confectionery often made into sweets).

The most important day of the season is the 24th where the celebration begins in the afternoon or evening and gifts are exchanged after dinner. One of the most common traditions is for the children to wait to enter into their (locked) living room until a little bell rings. This bell marks the departure of the one delivering gifts, and then the children are free to open them.

  Continue reading “Worldwide Holiday Celebrations as Told by Promega Employees: Part II”

Happy Holidays from Worldwide Promega

Happy Holidays from Promega employees around the world! This holiday season we are excited to share with you the kinds of celebrations we enjoy in the many countries that comprise the Promega family. We hope you feel more connected by reading about the festive customs, foods, symbols and events celebrated in countries that may be far from your own home. Here they are, in the words of our marketing and technical services colleagues.

Please note this is Part I of a two-part blog post. Please look for Part II to be posted on December 25, and have a wonderful holiday!

Italy
Maura Bozzalli, Marketing Manager

Christmas is very important in Italy, not only because we are the country with the Pope, but also, as in the rest of the world, it is a day dedicated to the family and the children. The celebration starts with dinner on Christmas Eve and goes on with the lunch on Christmas Day with gift exchanges as well.

But Christmas is not a real Christmas without a Panettone on the table. Panettone is a special sweet/dessert, not a cake, not a bread, and not anything else – it is Panettone! It has a rounded and very tall cylinder shape (20 cm), and originally it was from the Milan area but now it has spread out all over the country. As is typical of our country, each region has created its own version of the original recipe and of course claims that it is the best one! pannetone

Panettone takes more than two days of work to be done because it requires a long time for rising (10-12 hours) twice. Another typical note about its preparation – after cooking in the oven it is removed with a long fork and placed upside down for at least 5-10 hours until cold to prevent the humidity inside the Panettone from causing it to collapse. That is why it is saved for very special occasions like Christmas, and after so much work and time it is a pleasure to share it with the people you love. Today, not many people make it themselves at home;  instead Panettone is bought in shops but the taste and the tradition is still very lively.

Here all the ingredients needed to make a real Panettone: water, flour, salt, eggs and egg yolk, milk, butter, sugar, candied fruit (orange and citron), raisins, vanilla, and yeast. The official recipe is in Italian, but this tutorial can help you make a Panettone if you want to try for your own very special 2015 Christmas.

Continue reading “Happy Holidays from Worldwide Promega”

Incarcerated by Santa Claus

It’s a bit cliche, but this time of year always gets me feeling a little nostalgic. Perhaps some of you are the same way. I find myself rolling old holiday memories around and around in my head, reliving them, remembering who was there, how things looked, the smells, tastes and sounds. My family celebrates Christmas, so my memories are of things like Santa Claus, decorated trees, cinnamon and balsam, nativity scenes and singing carols in a warm, candlelit church. Some of the memories have faded or frayed a bit, but many are as vivid as when they first occurred. I’d like to tell you about one of them.

My favorite and most vivid Christmas memory actually spans multiple years and involves imprisonment of my brother and I at the hands of Santa Claus. Continue reading “Incarcerated by Santa Claus”