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BellaOnline's German Culture Editor

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Historic Traditions and Customs

There is a strong sense of continuity in Germany, and many of the traditions still followed today, from Passion Plays and May Day to Midsummer Madness and Garden Gnomes can be traced back centuries.

Germany's 'Lucky' Chimney Sweeps star
Tradition and superstition surrounds Chimney Sweeps in Europe. Including Germany where the practice and customs of the "Lucky" Schornsteinfeger, in black gold buttoned suit and top hat, are rooted far in the past. In "real life", crafted or in chocolate, a favorite "Good Luck" symbol.

Groundhog Day, Hedgehogs and Candlemas star
Groundhog Day - a million dollar industry with Punxsutawney Phil the "forecasting" groundhog etc., but its origins are in a mixture of ancient European and German "Hedgehog" folklore, "Candlemas" a Christian festival, the weather, and pagan traditions surrounding February 2.

May Day in Germany, Walpurgisnacht and Maibaum star
In many of Germany's regions May 1 means time to "Tanz in den Mai". Dance Into May. It begins with Walpurgisnacht, the evening of April 30 when witches join in the festivities; continuing with May Day maypoles, age old traditions, celebrations and dancing deep into the night.

Oberammergau Passion Play star
The wind of change has blown through the Bavarian village of Oberammergau’s centuries old and unique Passion Play, although Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem, his crucifixion and resurrection remain the focal points.

Schultueten and the First Day of School star
The first day of school is a milestone in the lives of German first graders. Parents and grandparents accompany the new pupil to school where, after welcoming speeches, songs, "photo calls", and "Schultuete", School Cone, held tightly, it is time for school life to begin.

Schultüten and the First Day of School star
For Germany's first graders their first day of school is a big celebration. Parents and grandparents accompany new pupils, there are welcoming speeches, songs, "photo calls", then Schultüte, School Cone, held tightly, it is time for their exciting new "Lebensphase", to begin.

Summer Solstice and Midsummer in Germany star
Many of Germany's Sommer-Sonnenwende, Summer Solstice, and Johannisnacht, Midsummer Night, festivities were mystical Pagan and pre-Christian festivals; and fire still has an important role in celebrating the triumph of sun and light over cold and darkness.

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Past Issues

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How to Make a Schultüte, Candy Cone

Rote Grütze, Germany's Fruit Dessert Recipe

Germany's Cult Beach Chair, the Strandkorb

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