©Uwe Meinhold •
Tourismusverband Erzgebirge e.V.
Adam-Ries-Straße 16
09456 Annaberg-Buchholz

With music, light and underground

The Ore Mountains – very special at Christmas

Cosiness – a word that is just perfect for the Ore Mountains. You can see for yourself how wonderful the locals in the Ore Mountains are at making themselves comfortable "in the warm parlour" during a traditional sociable "Hutzenabend" evening in the Ore Mountains. There's lots of lively chat, music, singing and eating while socialising together to the sound of the accordion or zither. "Hutzen" roughly means huddling together, and it were the miners’ wives who made this into a Christmas tradition. The last shift underground before Christmas (or Mettenschicht in the local tongue) is as sociable as it is festive. Deep inside the belly of the mountain, you will enjoy this unique mining tradition with songs and a feast. And because it’s so beautiful, the locals in the Ore Mountains simply extend their Christmas season a bit – it only ends here, like it once used to, on the 2nd of February, Candlemas, with processions of lights and church services. Good for you! 

The Mettenschicht - a true miners' Christmas celebration

The last shift underground before Christmas and the miners’ celebration of the end of the year is still celebrated today in almost all of the region's more than 20 show mines and in many towns and villages, usually with hearty miners’ music, "Speckfettbemm" sandwiches and mulled wine.

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The tradition of Candlemas is all but lost to history, even if some calendars do still refer to it. This feast is celebrated exactly 40 days after Christmas, and in some towns and villages in the Ore Mountains, for example in Zwönitz or Olbernhau, this tradition is being revived.
This day heralds the end of the Christmas season and the taking down of the Christmas decorations in the Ore Mountains. 

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The Hutzenabend

In earlier times, when wood was the main fuel, carvers and lace-makers sat together at someone’s home. This saved on heating and candlelight. This is how the Hutzenabend was born. During these evenings, people sang, laughed and shared old folk tales as well as working on carving and lace-making. This tradition is still kept alive today. Many cultural institutions invite you to these sociable evenings, especially during Advent and Christmas. These evenings offer a programme that brings the past to life. Songs, stories and delicacies from the Ore Mountains are just as much part and parcel of a Hutzenabend as a merry atmosphere.

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