Hug A Tree For Good Luck On Thomasnacht

You know from reading about recycling in Germany that we Germans care deeply for the environment. However, on Thomasnacht, when you see someone hugging a tree, they’re not doing it because they love Mother Nature. OK, they probably do, but… they’re mainly doing it for good luck.

Hugging trees for good luck is just one of many traditions that are celebrated around Thomasnacht (this very night from December 20th to 21st), which usually coincides with the Winter Solstice.

Another tradition is baking Kletzenbrot, which is a kind of fruit cake with lots of dried pears and raisins. Unmarried women can also toss shoes over their shoulders, and if the toes land pointing out, they will marry in the next year, as Thomasnacht is supposed to be a good night for predicting the future.

Of course, you don’t have to stay in trying to guess what’s going to happen to you in the year ahead. Instead, you can go out and have a good time at one of the Thomasnacht parties being held around Germany. Rüdesheim am Rhein plays host to a particularly well-developed party for this special day.

The Rüdesheim town association puts on the Thomasnacht party, which includes special drinks, pageants, and presentations. Locals dress in historical costumes and reenact scenes from the town’s history, while performers do street theater based on tales from the Brothers Grimm. There is even a special cruise down the Rhine with live classical music.

While the occasion is certainly festive, community events like these also serve as a way to get more people to come out to the Christmas markets. Since most of the shops close up on the 24th for the season, Thomasnacht also serves as a last hurrah for gift buyers and those looking to get souvenirs from the markets (including me ;-).

Thus, whether you just want a night out or you are trying to pick up a bit of good luck by hugging a tree, don’t neglect to take advantage of the peaking of the festive spirits around Thomasnacht! ;-)

—Marcus

 

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