|A beautiful Christmas tree at Astrid's home|
My first Christmas celebration began with a warm welcome at the Franfurt Airport when I returned from India after a month long warm holiday. It was not as cold as expected in Germany. Just got lucky with the weather. Every year during Christmas there will be Christmas Market in all cities here. Full of lights, colors and Christmas trees. Somehow it reminded me of Deepavali back home. I found myself lucky to be invited by Astrid to celebrate Christmas with her. She did it the German way. We attended Christmas Service at a church near her house on Heiliger abend (Christmas Eve). At the church they gave lyrics of the songs that were going to be sung so it was easier for a stranger like me to get along as I'm completely ignorant of the German songs.
After the service we were back home. There were Guests from different parts of the world. We had kids from China as well. Astrid shared memories of her childhood Christmas celebration. Her parents usually let her open the gifts after the Church service. She lit the Christmas tree with the candles and let the kids open the gifts. We sang some more Christmas songs. Astrid had baked special Christmas biscuits and typical Christmas food out of Potato. They have such varieties of dishes made out of potato, it is a matter of surprise for a South Indian like me.You are certain to come across Lebekuchen, Reibekuchen, Maronen, Gluehwein and Stollen as Christmas specialities for sure. Chocolate wrapped almonds, marzipan, cakes and wein....oh I just know a few but list is endless. We had a long dinner followed by a long walk by the river,Rheine side. Everyone said it was an unusual winter time as there was no snow. For many it didn't look like Christmas as there was snow. Due to the rise temperature Rheine was flowing full and scared the people of flood. We returned home with the Christmas memories flooding back in our minds.
I felt am ending the year with a good note. May there be a wonderful year ahead for all of us.