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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.

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.

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

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 the first day of school is a big celebration. If possible the entire family accompany new pupils, for the welcoming speeches, songs, "photo calls", then Schultüte, School Cone, held close, it's time for their new "Lebensphase". With link to a "School Cone How To".

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.

Walpurgisnacht, Maibaum and May Day in Germany star
It is "Dance into May", Tanz in den Mai", in many of Germany's regions. The fun and games begin with Walpurgisnacht, late on April 30 when "Witches" join the festivities. Maypoles, ancient traditions and dancing deep into the first night of May then welcome Spring.

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