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Word of the Week

Räuchermännchen

Learn a funny, quirky German word each week with DW's Word of the Week feature. This week: Räuchermännchen.

A collection of wooden Räuchermännchen

For most people, an old man smoking a pipe is not a sight associated with Christmas. But for Germans, it is - as long as the old man is made of wood. The "Räuchermännchen" ("little smoke man") is a small, hollow wooden figurine used for burning incense around Christmastime. He comes in many different forms and represents different occupations - such as miner, soldier or craftsman - and usually sports a beard or moustache. The smoke of the burning incense comes out through the little man's mouth. These days, you can even buy a female version of the "Räuchermännchen" (called "Räucherfrau") to complete the image of aromatic, smoky Christmas coziness.

Author: Eva Wutke
Editor: Kate Bowen

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