IELTS Practice Reading # Christmas Pickle

The below passage has been taken from the below link –

NEW YORK TIMES

A great many people in the American Midwest have family roots in Germany, and a good number of them can tell you all about a beloved old-country holiday tradition: the Weihnachtsgurke, or Christmas Pickle.

They will tell you that an ornament in the shape of a pickle is always the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve, camouflaged somewhere among the pine needles. It might be shiny or matte; it might have gold swirls or a little Santa hat. But whatever the style, the story goes that the first child to find the pickle in the morning is assured of good luck in the coming year and a special gift.

It sounds plausible: Germans tend to love traditions, Christmas and pickles. Versions of the story and speculation over its origins proliferate on the internet. There is only one snag: It is all but unknown in Germany.

The Statista polling agency surveyed 2,057 Germans in November and found that 91 percent had never even heard of this holiday legend attributed to their country.

Sascha Müller of the Lauscha glass center, in the eastern German region where the making of glass Christmas ornaments started in the mid-19th century, said he had learned of the Christmas pickle for the first time in the 1990s, on a trip to Frankenmuth, Mich.

He brought the story home with him, and his artisans now churn out 50,000 pickle ornaments a year, making it a best seller behind only Santa Claus and colored glass balls.

Dieter Dressler, a glass artisan in Weimar, also makes glossy green pickle ornaments, slightly curved and as thick as a large man’s thumb. He said there could be something to the idea that people in the Spreewald region, where cucumbers are grown and pickled, might have once been so poor that they had nothing else to hang on their trees, and that émigrés took the memory with them.

Mr. Dressler said that over the past three years he had been selling more and more pickle ornaments to Germans, who laugh when they hear the story of the Weihnachtsgurke.

“Lots of people ask me if I have a smaller one,” Mr. Dressler said. But being German, he knows you cannot go against tradition. “I tell them: ‘No, that wouldn’t be a pickle. It would be a cornichon.’”

Given below are the meaning of the tough words highlighted in the passage above. So, practice reading and increase chances of getting high band.

 

WORDSMEANING
beloveddearly loved.
traditionthe transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
ornamenta thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine.
picklea relish consisting of vegetables or fruit preserved in vinegar or brine.
camouflagedthe disguising of military personnel, equipment, and installations by painting or covering them to make them blend in with their surroundings.
matteÊdull and flat; without a shine.
swirlsmove in a twisting or spiralling pattern.
plausible(of an argument or statement) seeming reasonable or probable.
proliferateincrease rapidly in number; multiply.
snagan unexpected or hidden obstacle or drawback.
artisana worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
cucumbersa long, green-skinned fruit with watery flesh, usually eaten raw in salads or pickled.
ŽmigrŽsa person who has left their own country in order to settle in another, typically for political reasons.
cornichona sour gherkin usually flavored with tarragon.

IELTS BAND 7

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