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An Advent Calendar of Carols November 30, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in About Me, Advent Calendar of Carols, Christianity, Just for Fun, Music.
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It’s been a busy November, hence the lack of posts on the site. Lots of teaching. A volunteer concert for a local organization. A funeral I was asked to play for, last-minute. A great many things to blog about and no time at all to write them up…

But finally this busy month is drawing to a close, and December – that magical month – is beginning. A new month and time for new blog posts! Tonight I put some Christmas music on while making dinner, and realized how much I’d missed singing carols, together with other childhood pre-Christmas traditions. (When I was young I’d sing carols everywhere…around the house, while walking outside, in the store…does nobody sing anymore, even around Christmas??)

I have always loved the lead-up to Christmas. I come from a family of (partially) German background, and December 1 always makes me think of two traditions in particular – the first being the Adventskranz! 🙂 The Advent wreath was always made out of fresh pine, spruce and cedar bows and decorated with pinecones, red ribbons and four beeswax candles – three red, the last white. Every Friday night during the three weeks before Christmas, we would light the red candles (one the first week, two the second, and all three the third) and, seated around the wreath, sing a carol together. (In later years this expanded to one carol the first week, two the second…we couldn’t get enough carols as far as my sister and I were concerned!) 😀 On Christmas Eve all four candles were lit, the white one last of all, and we would sing the special Christmas Eve carol. (You’ll have to wait to find out which one…)

The other tradition I can’t help thinking of on December 1 is, of course, the Advent calendar! There wasn’t a year when we didn’t eagerly pry open the little window each day to see what picture or chocolate lay behind. Usually we had one “North American” calendar containing chocolates and then another authentic German calendar with beautiful, intricate scenes. We would keep the most beautiful calendars from previous years and use them as Christmas decorations. My all-time favorite was a 3-D “rabbit” Christmas mansion – every window you peeked into, the rabbits would be wrapping gifts, baking cookies or hanging up stockings!

Of course, as we grew up and left home the traditions were dropped or adapted (we still have the Advent wreath, but need to confine the carol singing to the four days immediately preceding Christmas – I think we usually manage to fit them all in, though it’s often been a close call!) But I haven’t had an Advent calendar for years, and I decided it was time to remedy that omission.

This month I’ll be doing a virtual Advent Calendar of Carols on my blog. Each day I’ll post a Christmas carol which has some special meaning or association for me, and talk about why it’s a favorite. There’ll be some traditional, some modern, a number of German carols (as you might expect), some sacred, some secular – the perfect Advent mix. First installment is coming tomorrow!

Enjoy…and Frohe Weihnachten in advance! 🙂

The Contrapuntal Platypus 😀