What cultures have strange birthday traditions
You may not have known about these 8 German traditions
Germany is known all over the world for the legendary Oktoberfest, the two-week folk festival that is visited by people from all corners of the world to drink local beer and to get a taste of German traditions.
German customs and traditions
Oktoberfest, also known as Wies’n, is the most famous German tradition, but there are some other lesser-known customs that are just as interesting. Here we introduce you to eight authentic customs and traditions that are dear to most Germans.
1. The school cone on the first day of school
The school cone is a tradition that was introduced in the 19th century. It is a bag made of plastic or paper. It has the shape of a large cone. The school cones are given to the children by their parents on their very first school day after kindergarten.
This custom is intended to help children get rid of the new fears that are normally associated with this milestone. School cones are filled with lots of small gifts - usually sweets, toys and, above all, stationery for everyday school life.
2. The fireworks on New Year's Eve
Perhaps you are now thinking that there are actually fireworks all over the world on New Year's Eve. Still, you should know that Germans take their New Year's Eve fireworks very seriously. On December 31st - or sometimes a few days before that - 90% of the population between the ages of 5 and 95 transform into knowledgeable pyrotechnicians, starting at any time of the day or night by setting off fireworks in every imaginable direction.
This is especially frightening when the clock is approaching midnight, but it doesn't seem to cause much concern for many people. Check out this video if you want to see what the fireworks can look like on New Year's Eve in Germany.
3. “Dinner For One” on New Years Eve
Another interesting German tradition for New Years is called “Dinner For One”. Have you ever heard of it? The English comedy was shot in 1963 and has been shown on television every New Year's Eve since then - a total of over 231 times to date. If you want to impress a German friend, just try to incorporate the cult quote “The same procedure as last year?” - “The same procedure as every year” into a conversation.
The sketch holds the record for being the most repeated television broadcast around the world, but has never aired in the United Kingdom or the United States. The reasons for its success in Germany remain a mystery, but you can watch the 11-minute video here.
4. Celebrate the birthdayn
In Germany, birthday celebrations are taken very seriously. A related tradition is referred to as “celebrating in”, which means something like “party into” and is used in German in the phrase “celebrating into the birthday”. The verb stands for the fact that a person's birthday is celebrated the evening before, because the real birthday begins as soon as the hands of the clock point to midnight.
In this way, the birthday child (literally "birthday kid") is surrounded by loved ones for the first few minutes or hours of the birthday.
5. Carnival / Mardi Gras / Mardi Gras
When we talk about German holidays, festivals and traditions, the carnival cannot be missed.
When you hear the word "carnival", you probably think of Rio de Janeiro and Venice first, but Germany also has a strong carnival culture. The carnival season, which has other names depending on the region, such as Mardi Gras in East Germany or Bavaria or Fastnacht in Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse or Saarland, starts exactly on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. and ends on Rose Monday The peak usually falls in February or early March.
Two days later is Ash Wednesday, on this day the season ends. The celebrations are strongest in Cologne, Mainz and Düsseldorf, but other German regions also celebrate on and around Rose Monday. Then there are carnival parades and people celebrate all over the street.
6. Dance in May
The parties that take place on April 30th each year are called “dance into May”. This ceremony has its roots in the Walpurgis Night or Witches Night. That was the night when evil spirits were shaken off and the arrival of spring was celebrated. Nowadays, most of the clubs and bars have special parties, and people often party around open fires in parks as well.
The first of May is also celebrated in Germany because it is Labor Day. In Berlin, for example, many demonstrations take place and the Berlin Kreuzberg district is transformed into a large street festival with open-air stages, where free concerts take place.
7. Ban on dancing
In English, dance ban means something like "dancing ban". The word is used to describe the fact that dancing is banned by the government on some public holidays. There are mostly bans on dancing on Christian holidays such as Good Friday and on memorial days such as National Mourning Day, on which one commemorates the victims who had to die due to war or oppression.
This dance ban affects public dance events, but most people dance within their own four walls anyway. In practice, this means that some places that are actually intended for dancing - such as dance clubs - have to remain closed during this time. In Berlin, for example, the clubs are not allowed to open between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Good Friday.
8. Crime scene
As a foreigner living in Germany, you will soon be invited by a friend for the first time to come and see the crime scene. This is a crime series that has been broadcast since the 1970s and has become a great German tradition on Sunday evenings.
The show is based on stories that happen to different police units in different cities. Each episode takes place in one of 20 locations in Germany, Switzerland or Austria and revolves around a single crime. There are also public screenings of the crime scene in bars. Some people even stay at home to watch the weekly crime scene episode.
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