The conversation went a bit like this:
Tegan- ‘I wanted to do the German Christmas Pickle’
Joram- ‘I’ve never heard of that. But then, I don’t often hang around people who have Christmas decorations.’
T- ‘So you don’t know what the German Christmas pickle is ?’
Which I would argue, is all the more reason to write about it.
The tradition of the German Christmas Pickle goes something like this. A Pickle is placed – or more accurately, hidden – on the Christmas tree at the last minute. Children then look for the pickle (possibly only on Christmas Day itself), and whoever finds it gets a present.
As a lover of pickles myself, I really hope that the gift is just the several-day-old pickle itself.
Although as it turns out the Pickle tends to be a beautiful hand-blown glass ornament, as opposed to a smelly soggy vegetable.
Anyway, once I actually started researching (read: wikipedia-ing) this tradition, it pretty became clear why our resident German had never heard of it. In reality the ‘Weihnachtsgurke’ (aka Christmas pickle) tradition is not from Germany, but was actually created by Americans in the late 19th century. Some suggest it was introduced as a marketing ploy, to encourage sale of newly-available German glass ornaments.
In any case, the ‘tradition’ has now been imported back to the continent, and if you’re touring any reputable German Christmas market, you shouldn’t be too surprised to come across a beautiful shining version of our beloved Cucumis sativus (cucumber)!
Go here for the wiki.
This article is part of our Christmas Advent’s Calendar. To check it out, go here.