German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

It is a unique January tradition for young children in Sorbian Lusatia, eastern Germany...the "Bird's Wedding". They wear miniature wedding costumes, the bride a Magpie her groom a Raven or bride a Thrush and groom a Blackbird, and everyone from guests to the chaplain are also "Birds".

Francine A. McKenna

Europe lay in rubble, and the winter of 1946/1947 was the coldest in living memory. Known in Germany as the time of "Weisser Tod", white death, and "Schwarzer Hunger", black hunger, hundreds of thousands died. Weihnachten was different that year, New Year and Spring held no promises.

Francine A. McKenna

Germany's universal passion for cleaning and tidying everything in sight, necessary or not and at any time of the day, or year, has earned its own name, Putzanfall. Cleaning Attack. A strangely "enjoyable", even compulsive, pastime, but there are still rules and traditions of course.

Francine A. McKenna

It was a quirky way of telling the future at New Year, melting heavy metal and interpreting the shapes that appeared when dropped in water. Now it is the in every way safer Wachsgießen, casting oracles from scraps of wax. Here is a version to try, with over 100 interpretations for those shapes.

Francine A. McKenna

Rinderrouladen, "Beef Rouladen", thin slices of beef rolled up around a seasoned onion and bacon filling, served in a wine sauce. A delicious German classic once saved for celebrations or Sundays, now it's a comforting and traditional dinner choice during the cold weather season.

Francine A. McKenna

Dreikönigstag, Epiphany, on January 6 ends the Christmas season, and in many of Germany's regions and German speaking countries one of the traditions is a King's Cake. The lucky finder of a Christkind figure, almond or dried white bean in their portion, is crowned a King or Queen for the Day.

Francine A. McKenna

Old, new, based on customs from the pagan past, all German's New Year's Traditions are designed to ensure the coming year will have the best chances possible of being a vintage one. Known as "Silvester", here is how the New Year is celebrated in Germany.