May you all find the peace and joy of this day and remember it throughout the years.
Das Christkind (German "The Christ-child", pronounced [ˈkʁɪstkɪnt]) is the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in regions of Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy,Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, parts of Hispanic America, in certain areas of southern Brazil and in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. Promulgated by Martin Luther, explicitly to discourage the figure of St. Nicholas, at the Reformation in 16th-17th century Europe, many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.The Christkind was adopted in Catholic areas during the 19th century, while it began to be, in a rather surprising turnabout, gradually replaced by a more or less secularized version of Saint Nicholas, the Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas, Santa Claus) in Protestant regions.The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. Sometimes the Christ Child is, instead of the infant Jesus, interpreted as a specific angel bringing the presents, as it appears in some processions together with an image of little Jesus Christ. It seems also to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Children never see the Christkind in person, and parents tell them that Christkind Bescherung) when the parents say that they think that the Christkind who has brought the presents has now left again. In some traditions, the departure is announced by the ringing of a small bell, which the parents pretend to have heard or which is secretly done by one of the adults in the family. Since the 1990s, the Christkind is facing increasing competition from the Weihnachtsmann in the American version of Santa Claus, caused by the use of Santa Claus as an advertising figure. (Need citation. Santa Claus as advertising figure has been prominently used in the United States since the Macy's Department Store Thanksgiving-to-Christmas marketing campaigns of the 1870s.) Christkindl or Christkindel are diminutive versions of Christkind. Christkind and Belsnickel are also found among communities of Volga German descent in Argentina. A well-known figure is the Christkind at the Christkindlesmarkt inNuremberg, which is represented by a young woman chosen every year for this task.