Every culture has its traditions anchored in an old culture. Perhaps because we are from continental Europe these roots grew a little longer and deeper than others, especially if hardship was the reason for leaving the homeland. Changes are harder to accept because of it too. Thus year-by-year we celebrate our festivities in the old ways. We re-enact and recreate those things we thought we lost in a new unit of time, right here, right now. We rejoice in our customs and traditions, revel in them; want to share them with others. And we do share them.
Christmas the world over would be nothing without the German Christmas Tree to symbolically spread the light into the dark. Even without any religious overtones this custom alone has changed the world. Spreading light into the dark has its pendant in just about every culture and civilization, regardless of other historical or religious meanings.
Christmas Markets are also such a custom, but not as broadly accepted yet in North America. Some efforts in that regard flourished, such as Chicago and Kitchener, others failed, such as the one of the City of Toronto. Surely the reasons can be found in the lack of commitment on all ends, and definitely insufficient marketing. The German community had gotten it off to a pretty good start, but then it started to flounder together with that paper called The European, which could not interest other communities to come out the way we did. But the expense is too big for one community to bare. And while the Ontario Ministry of Tourism still supported the effort, the city should have given it a big push, but was too busy with elections and such.
Thus we rely on our good old traditional standbys, the community Christmas fair, such as the one in the Tannery or the Danube Swabian Club in Scarborough.
Echo Germanica also took out a booth to meet the people; and to have a reason to be busy we even had a raffle. A delicious bottle of red Krim-Sekt was won by Jenny Hosein of Ajax, and the Nativity Scene donated by clockmaker/artist Siegfried Erck, was won by Ruth Soodeen of Scarborough.
We congratulate both of them and wish them all the best.
Congratulations also go to the winner of the beautiful wall clock worth over 1,600 dollars, and the 500-dollar cash prize from the club. The Youth Group raffle will be held on the 5th of December.
Some people actually only come to say hi and to buy food supplies. While there is nothing wrong with that in itself, it does somewhat fall short of the purpose of the fair. The merchants come there to sell some goods that will also add to their Christmas cheer.
We stood next to a bakery outlet. The smell of delicious cakes was hard enough to deal with all day long; observing the created bottlenecks because of it was something else. People will stay in line forever for food, but not for anything else.
Some merchants went home very happy; others were disappointed.
I spent a lot of money on decorations and some on jewellery and a beautiful cape from Regina’s Dirndls… Sadly she is going to close her business. Better go to Kitchener’s Christkindl Market and pick up something nice before you missed your last chance.
In the Danube Swabian Club the Christmas Market has a different purpose then lets say the one on Kitchener, which is truly for just German expatriates. It has become an institution like Oktoberfest but unlike the Oktoberfest is still in the hands of the German community that is pulling together to make it happen every year.
I am sure we will see a lot our readers there!
When last we were at the Concordia Club in Kitchener we participated in the festivities to commemorate the founding of the Club 131 years ago. There are certainly a few traditions attached to this affair!
It always starts with a receiving line, a cocktail or champagne hour, and is followed by a scrumptious dinner with a very fine house wine. The planning never allows for unwanted surprises, thus everything runs smoothly. The décor always changes slightly, and this year the seating arrangements were adjusted to allow more people to attend. The list of honorary members and past patrons is so long by now that the big hall is bursting in its seams in an effort to accommodate all the well-wishers and new inductees and their friends.
Sarah Allmendinger functioned as the MC, as she has for the last several years, and led through the program with much heart and efficiency.
Werner Schlueter, President of the Club, found his duties again most pleasant. Giving the commemorative needles to the new inductees together with Miss Concordia Christina Schmidt and board member Heidi Novak, has to be rewarding for all, for it is not given for just anything.
Club-membership-needles for 10, 25, even 40 and 50 years were given away, if the people were attending. And then there were the honorary memberships, one of which was Leo Tukums, who is keeping the archives for the club and doing a marvellous job!
The Danube Swabian dancers
The local Danube Swabian Club had sent its fabulous dance group to enjoy us with, and finally, after all was said and done and delivered, a band struck up a joyful tune and Werner Schlueter and his wife opened the dance floor. Soon the tables were empty and everyone was exercising to their favourite tune. A few die-hards stood in a cold mudroom to have that now forbidden fruit, a smoke.
We always feel so welcome and at home in the Concordia Club and thank everyone for including us in the success story of this German-Canadian institution.
Until next time
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send mail to email@example.com
questions or comments about this web site.