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Old 12-06-2008, 06:43 PM
 
Location: in pa, but missin montana
65 posts, read 276,240 times
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Today I attended the "pa dutch christmas tour" at the troxell home in Egypt, orchastrated by the historical society. It was really great. This has inspired me to recreate some pa dutch christmas traditions at my own home. I know about decorating the tree with candles and dried fruit, but does anyone else have any more traditions they know of in regards to a pa dutch christmas.
Thanks you!
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:41 AM
 
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Hmmm. You have potato filling instead of mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. If you want to have fun with younger kids, have a friend dress up as the " Belsnickle" and scare the crap out of them or at least warn them to be good. My grandmother told me she used to have one come to the house and she hated him. He'd throw down candy, nuts or treats to them and then whip them with a switch if they grabbed for any. He's like a tramp Santa Claus with a nasty dispostion. Have pork and sauerkraut on New Years' Day for luck. Oddly, in many areas nobody does anything for luck New Years day. Down south they eat black eyed peas, but even past in western Pa they don't seem to do anything.
The Christmas tree is german but other than that I don't recall many traditions. It was very religious to the Pa dutch but the english seemed to go more into carolling and whatnot.
Don't forget to celebrate Groundhog's Day which originated as a german tradition and was carried to America by the pa dutch. My mother has groundhog cookie cutters that are over 60 years old so it must have been locally big way back when.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:22 AM
 
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You might pick up this book Amazon.com: Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas (Night Before Christmas Series): Chet Williamson, James Rice: Books to give you some ideas. I got it a couple of years ago for my Mom in law and two of her Aunts who were raised sort of Pennsylvania Dutch.

One thing about that culture is that the kids of my Mother in laws generation (she's around 75) were not taught to speak PA dutch and that it was low class and not a good thing. My MIL and her siblings never learned the language or much of the customs. About the only PA dutch thing that survived is a love for shoo fly pie.

There's a lot of talk of how we want newcomers to our country to learn English asap, and I agree with that, but along the way a lot of the customs are dropped as well. Our families have been here for a long, long time. In fact, the last immigrant probably came in the 1800's and we have absolutely no ethnic customs or traditions. I think that's kind of sad.
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:38 PM
 
3,255 posts, read 4,701,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rheannad View Post
Today I attended the "pa dutch christmas tour" at the troxell home in Egypt, orchastrated by the historical society. It was really great. This has inspired me to recreate some pa dutch christmas traditions at my own home. I know about decorating the tree with candles and dried fruit, but does anyone else have any more traditions they know of in regards to a pa dutch christmas.
Thanks you!
The Moravian things are quite lovely if you can get to Bethlehem. You can make the cake they use for the lovefeast, it is a potato based cake that you make holes in every so many inches and fill wit butter and brown sugar. If you can get to the Bach choir at the Moravian Church, you will be delighted.
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