Wednesday, December 21, 2011


During the Christmas season, windows throughout the Saxony area of Germany are lit with the soft lights of Schwibbögen, or Christmas arches. These traditional displays reach back over 270 years to the silver mines of the Erzgebirge in Germany, and the first Schwibbögen, made out of wrought iron, are thought to have originated in the town of Johanngeorgenstadt.

After miners finished a long, hard day in the mines, they would hang their lanterns at the mine entrance. The twinkling lights formed a glittering arch, and these lantern arches are thought to have been the inspiration for Schwibbögen.

Schwibbögen were especially popular during the Christmas season. Christmas was the only time in the year when the hard and dangerous work in the mines came to a rest. Wives put the Schwibbögen in their cottage windows and lit the candles to welcome their husbands home after a hard day in the mines. The twinkling lights in the windows guided the miners as they trudged through darkness and snow, and welcomed them to the warmth and security of their homes and families.

During the Christmas season, large Schwibbögen are also set up in the public squares and churches in the Erzgebirge.

Home craftsmen soon began to work with wood because of its natural beauty and warmth. The making of Schwibbögen quickly became an important source
of income throughout the Erzgebirge.

Ann bought me this lovely German Schwibbögen for Christmas.  It looks so lovely in front of the window on our dining table!  I love it! thanks Ann!

Here are some photos of others I found on the internet. The oldest and the newest!
The oldest existing wrought iron Schwibbogen is in Johanngeorgenstadt (1778)
This is quite elaborate... most I've seen are very simple.


Jo said...

very cool ... i love the oldest ... that would be a treasure!

Sue C said...

Awww, how pretty - and thanks for the history lesson:)