Coordinates: 48 18 N 10 59 E
Population: 10,988 (2004 est.)
Many things may cross your mind while standing under the mistletoe this year, but I’ll wager that geography is not one of them. Although it could. In North America you might think of Love, Canada, or Love County, Oklahoma, while the town of Kissing, Germany works quite well too. A short distance from the city of Augsburg and the Lech River in the Free State of Bavaria, the country’s oldest and largest, Kissing would also be a good place to hear the traditional Christmas carols performed on Klöpfelnächte. In the past, “Knocking Night” was an opportunity for the needy to sing songs (often accompanied by a flute or guitar) door to door in exchange for a bit of food or few coins. Reviving a practice that dates back centuries, singers today donate the money they collect to charity.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.