Christmas in East Germany: 10 Surprising Facts

Christmas is almost upon us. More than almost any other holiday, Christmas is steeped in tradition and with much-loved exports such as advent calendars, Christmas trees, Christmas markets and Nuremberg gingerbread, Germany has contributed its fair share. While the holiday’s original meaning as the birthday of Jesus Christ is still present for many people, the Marxist-Leninist ideology that was the bedrock of the socialist regime in the GDR did not accept faith-based world views. However, rather than abolishing Christian traditions altogether, they were frequently re-interpreted in line with the tenets of historical materialism. We collected ten facts that made Christmas special in socialist East Germany.