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The word for Christmas Eve in Germany is Weihnacht meaning “watch night. The figure that brings gifts on Christmas Eve is Der Weihnachtsmann or “ The Christmas Man”.
In northern Europe there was a centuries old folk lore figure, a bearded man in a long brown coat with a fur hood who traveled in a sled pulled by a reindeer. He represented fertility, nourishment and the preparation for the long winter and most likely derived from early Germanic mythology.
Originally Weihnachtsmann was pictured as a very weary old bearded man, trudging through the snowy streets, sometimes carrying a tree over his shoulder.
Today, however he has become more like the American Santa Claus, a jolly fellow dressed in a red suit. He brings gifts on Christmas Eve, but does not come down the chimney, instead he mysteriously slips into the house to leave his gifts.
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