At this time, this day is a holiday from work in the state of Saxony, a state bordering on Poland and and the Czech Republic which includes the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, and is a school holiday in Bavaria. All other states in Germany no longer celebrate this church holiday by giving the day off work or school.
Buß-und-Bettag is also - along with the festival of St. Martin, celebrated on November 11th - the unofficial beginning of the Christmas preparation season. St. Martin Day, by the way, celebrates a converted Roman soldier, Martin of Tours, who became a monk and was known as a friend of children and the poor. This day is celebrated with lantern processionals and bonfires. Roast goose is also a symbolic meal of the day because it is said Martin was a humble man and didn't want to be ordained as a bishop even though the people wanted it. He hid in a goose pen to avoid being found by a crowd who wanted to force him to be ordained, but the geese's honking betrayed him.
While it is a toasty, unseasonal 80°F (26°C) here in NW Arkansas, I am seeking any inspiration to begin holiday preparation.
In the days ahead, throughout the holiday season, I hope to share some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
Typical German Christmas cookies include Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Kipferle (almond/vanilla crescent-shaped cookie), Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), sugar cookies, Pfeffernüsse (spiced cookies), shortbread, and Spitzbuben, also called Linzer-Augen Kekse (jam-filled sandwich cookies).
Do you have a favorite? Are you curious about any one in particular?