Calendar counts down days to Christmas

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***German children opened the first day of their Advent calendar yesterday.
This pre-Christmas tradition of opening a door each day will continue
through Dec. 24. This is little children’s way of counting down the
days to Christmas Eve.

In most cases, they find a little picture or a piece of chocolate behind a door.
The history of the Advent calendar is more than 100 years old. It was
invented by a mother in Munich, whose son Gerhard, as soon as the first
candle of the Advent wreath was lit, kept asking when Santa Claus would
come and bring the gifts.

Gerhard Lang’s mother had to think of something to make him understand when the waiting time is over.

She designed a cardboard box and drew 24 squares on it. She explained
to little Gerhard that each square means getting up once and going to
bed again.

Mrs. Lang even sewed a cookie onto each square to sweeten up the
waiting time. From then on, Gerhard’s mother had to design a calendar
every year until she thought he was too old for it.

At the turn of the century, Gerhard Lang founded, together with a partner, a lithographic art publishing company.

When business wasn’t good anymore, he remembered his mother’s idea and
brought the “Munich Christmas calendar’ onto the market in 1904. Its
subtitle was “The 24 Waiting Days” and it was sold for 30 pfennigs
(about 15 cents) in stationer shops.

Today, different kinds of Advent calendars are available – cardboard
calendars, felt calendars with filled pockets, 24 bags hung up on a
string or 24 little houses set up like a town.