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The multi-tiered Christmas pyramid is one of the special features of Erzgebirge folk art. In the Erzgebirge it often takes the place of the Christmas tree and was already part of the Christmas decorations in churches in the 18th century.

Precursor of the Christmas pyramid

Its predecessor, not associated with Christmas customs, can be found in the 16th century in Bohemia, where pyramid-like “funeral frames” fitted with candles were part of burials. In the Berlin region Christmas pole pyramids have been documented since 1800, whose form is reflected similarly in the Thuringian and north German “Reifenbäume” or Bavarian “Klausenbäume”. The oldest Christmas pyramid still existing, which is driven by hot air, can be found at the Erzgebirgsmuseum in Annaberg and is the “Lenzsche Pyramide” from around 1800. It is still equipped with a little rape oil lamps, later on the pyramids were driven by candles.


Structure and operation

A simple Christmas pyramid consists of a central axis with plates/discs which are attached to at different heights with a propeller at the top. The bottom is tapered and rests in a recess in the base of the pyramid. The candle holders are fixed on the outside of the plate or plates so that they are still within the diameter of the propeller. The resulting hot air causes the propeller to turn, and with the propeller the plates which are attached to the axis.

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