Surrounded by our family and friends, GTEV Edelweiss members celebrated
Weihnachten on the second Sunday of Advent. Thirteen musicians and singers,
under Richard Michels’ direction, sang and played a dozen pieces of
Volksmusik from our beautiful Bayernland. A song played by one of the ten
different ensembles was the lively “Kirchseeoner Perchtentanz.” The music
brought to mind the pagan custom of the Perchten, frightening, ugly
creatures who dominate the twelve nights between Christmas and Epiphany.
Ancient belief said the Perchten were evil spirits that wreaked havoc in
December. Today these creatures are part of folk customs throughout Bavaria
The music included pieces both peaceful and spirited. Marianne Billo read a
poem in Bavarian dialect about the real meaning of the “Adventszeit.” It’s
not about rushing and buying, it’s about quiet reflection and the love of
family. Bible verses from the Book of Luke read in both German and English
added to the feeling of Christmas anticipation.
Those Germans who lived through World War II or have parents that did, know
about the desperate times in Germany afterwards. Relatives from America
often sent packages to loved ones “in der Heimat.” Our Musikwart, Rick
Michels, read a poem about a fictitious Tante Rose who sent a Christmas
package with coffee, goodies, and “flour” to her family in Germany. After
the family used the flour in soup, pancakes, and baked goods with little
success, a letter arrived from Tante Rose saying Onkel wanted his ashes to
rest in his Heimat. The poem was both poignant and funny, reminding us of
what many of our families and friends went through and how good we all have
We ended the musical portion of the evening with the “Andachtsjodler” and
“Stille Nacht, which we all sang together. “Stille Nacht” never fails to
bring some tears and hugs from someone close by. Not long after, Santa’s
bell could be heard and in he swooped to pass out gifts.
We celebrated at the Carpathia Hall, so the food was delicious as always.
Members brought plenty of homemade desserts to share. The raffle of over
sixty fun prizes added to the festivities. The Edelweiss Weihnachtsfest was
over far too soon for the hundred members and friends who were there. We all
look forward to 2013 and the many activities we have planned.