After Terror, Berlin Finds Comfort and Joy in a Soccer Club’s Ritual

“BERLIN — They matched Santa hats with soccer scarves. They sang hymns in cherubic voice and screamed sports chants at the top of their lungs. They held ceremonial white candles and swigged mulled wine from plastic cups. On Friday night, for the 14th year in a row, the home stadium of F.C. Union Berlin, a second-division soccer club in the eastern corner of the German capital, became the site of the country’s most discussed Christmas celebration. What began more than a decade ago as an improvised gathering of 80 people has since morphed into an ostentatious event — part pep rally, part church service — attended by an arena-stuffing crowd of 28,500.” NY Times (Video)

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