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German word of the day: Die Weihnachtsgans

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Nele Schröder - [email protected]
German word of the day: Die Weihnachtsgans
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Die Weihnachtsgans (which means Christmas goose and is a roast goose) belongs to a German Christmas dinner like a turkey belongs to an American Thanksgiving dinner.


The Christmas goose has a long history in the German speaking regions of the world: First reports of Christmas geese being eaten date back to the Middle Ages. Its origin is probably the so-called Martinsgans, a roast goose that was eaten on the Day of St. Martin, a very important saint in Germany.

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Back then, the traditional Christmas food for many rich families was a roast pork, while working class people usually ate blood- or liver sausage for Christmas. When the over all wealth started rising with the industrialization of Germany, people starting replacing said pork with a much more festive roast goose. 

Ever since then, it is a traditional German Christmas dinner, which is enjoyed by many and means the death of around 600.000 geese a year.

Most of these are butchered around Christmas: According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, around 76 percent of the geese get butchered at Christmas. 

It is traditionally stuffed with a mixture of chestnuts, apples, marjoram and dried plums, but this stuffing can vary. There are also varieties with dried apricots, pears, nuts or even bread. The goose is then roasted in the oven and eaten with Rotkohl (red cabbage) and Klößen (a sort of potato dumpling.)

Like many other German foods, it is a very rich meal. And even though there are alternatives (especially vegetarian ones), there are still a lot of people who enjoy this festive tradition. 


Ich muss noch daran denken, eine Weihnachtsgans zu bestellen.

I have to remember ordering a Christmas goose. 

Könnte ich noch ein Stück von der Weihnachtsgans haben?

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Could I have another piece of the Christmas goose?

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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

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