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BellaOnline's German Culture Editor

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Germany Today

Deutschland Heute, "Today´s Germany".....What makes Germany "Tick". Plus topics "in the news" and some "fun" stuff, together with useful general, and current, information

A Link to Ancient Traditions in Today´s Germany star
Beginning school is surrounded with tradition, as are weddings, Father´s Day and sweeping chimneys. It is an ultra-modern country but has customs which reach back centuries.

A Link to Germans and their Gardens star
From mini gardens on balconies and gardening by the moon´s phases, to beer gardens, garden gnomes and Easter eggs trees, Germans love their gardens big or small.

A Link to Life in Germany Today star
Germany still has traditions and ways of life that have been passed down for generations, but in the last years it has become both ´Green´ and a multicultural society, adapting to new ways and ideas.

Birthdays in Germany star
It is not a good idea to wish a German "Geburtstagkind", Birthday Child, "Happy Birthday" until the actual day, one minute after midnight but not before, while someone celebrating their 90th needs a very large cake, perhaps even a fire extinguisher. Why? It's "Birthdays" the German way.

Denglish Germany´s fusion of Deutsche and English star
Mother-tongue speakers are usually extremely loyal to their national language, and Germany is no exception, however recently Anglicism´s have been adopted with an amazing lack of restraint bringing about the rise of Denglish´.

Forest Schools, Germany´s Waldkindergarten star
Waldkindergarten, nature’s pre-school nursery for children, where fresh air, the natural world and exploration replace classroom walls.

German Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Days star
Halloween has arrived in Germany. Witches, Germany's "Forest Goddesses" in pagan times, have returned, carved pumpkins, ghosts and skeletons are now seen on the streets, but it is celebrated alongside the country's centuries old "All Saints" and "All Souls" Day traditions.

German Music Fast Facts star
Germany has a spirited music scene ranging from classical to techno and pop, one seventh of the world’s opera houses, almost one million students at state music schools, and one of its most popular singers has a continuing live show hit with a song sung in praise of a grilled sausage.

German Wine and Vineyards star
The German wine industry is undergoing a change and is returning to its roots of producing high quality vintage wines. Although the traditions and age old customs surrounding the harvest will remain, more emphasis is being placed on the grapes and the wines created, so Liebfraumilch is on the way out.

German Words used in the English Language star
Where did that word originate - you might be surprised. "Gemuetlich" and "Kindergarten" for example are as at home in English as in German, and there are many other words which have been absorbed into the English language, traveling from Germany to international worlds of business, science, technology and history as well as art and culture.

Germany and its Storks star
Storks are amongst Germany's favorite wildlife, the subject of many myths and superstitions, and when they return to their German nests, most after having spent the winter in Africa, it's a clear signal spring can not be far away. Although it might be cold and even snow covered in places.

Germany's Dried Fruit People, Zwetschgenmaennla star
Prune Men, or Prune People because Zwetschgenmaennla, dried plum boys, were joined by girls, Zwetschgenweibla, long ago, are traditional German handcrafts and symbols of GOOD LUCK. Given to celebrate everything from New Year to Weddings. Here is the story and an easy DIY "How To" guide.

Germany's East Friesland Tea Ceremony star
Across Germany coffee is more popular than beer, except for the windswept coastal marshlands and islands of East Friesland in northwest Germany. There the number one beverage is tea, a Frisian Blend with its own tea ceremony, and anyone who prefers coffee is a 'Koffjenoese', a coffee nose.

Germany's House Cleaning Culture star
Germany's reputation as one of the world's best kept and well ordered countries is well deserved, and house cleaning companies across the globe advertise themselves as offering "German House Cleaning". Even in the "laid back" 21st century this is an image reflected in 'real life'.

Germany's Storks star
Storks are amongst Germany's favorite wildlife, the subject of many myths and superstitions, and when they return to their German nests, after spending the winter in Africa, it's a clear signal spring can not be far away. Although it still might be cold and even snow covered in places.

Germany´s Cult Beach Chair, the Strandkorb star
Part of Germany´s culture for generations, a strange looking chair. A wicker beach basket, the ´Strandkorb´, once likened to an upright wash basket and originally designed for an aristocrat with rheumatism, has not only sheltered beach goers from wind, rain, sun and even snow it is now a part of Germany life.

How to Make a Schultuete, Candy Cone star
For Germany's first graders a Candy Cone filled by small gifts and candy helps makes that first day at school even more memorable. A custom that began in early 19th century Germany, Schultuete are as popular now as they were then and could be a fun idea and new tradition for your own family.

Knut, a Sad End for Berlin Zoo's Star Polar Bear star
Knut, Berlin Zoo's celebrated and charismatic young polar bear, and Leonardo DiCaprio's one time Vanity Fair cover companion, beat the odds to survive after his birth in December 2006, but died at the age of only four years, very young for an ice bear. And especially one in captivity.

Oktoberfest in Munich star
A huge, historic, country fair, the world´s largest Volksfest, and with its own museum on site. It started as a horse race to honour a wedding, and over 200 years later remains an annual festival of Bavarian exuberance, draught beer, beer garden food and tradition.

Oktoberfest, in Munich, 15 Fast Facts star
Albert Einstein once worked there as an electrician, an intoxicated dachshund was delivered to Lost and Found, it uses enough electricity to give 52 years of power to a home for four, and emigrants from Germany have taken it all over the world, but Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago in Munich.

Ostalgie, and nostalgic East German Recipes star
In the days of a communist East Germany meals were planned around what was available to buy that day, the queues were long and legendary, and a banana was seen on television but not in a shop. Appetizing and healthy food was served nevertheless, and here are some favourite, and easy, recipes from the time.

Rabbit A La Berlin, Film Review star
Its original title was Mauerhase - A hare that lives by a wall. Nominated for an Oscar in 2010, and using the viewpoint of Berlin´s death zone rabbits as a parable for the lives of many East German, and USSR, citizens, this movie gives a different, and fascinating, perspective on socialism, the fall of the wall and the end of communism.

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

Summer Solstice and Midsummer Eve in Germany star
Many of Germany´s festivities for Sommer-Sonnenwende, summer solstice, and Johannisnacht, midsummer eve, can be traced back to pagan and pre-Christian days. The triumph of sun and light over cold and darkness is still celebrated by huge bonfires throughout the country.

The Day of German Unity star
The Day of German Unity, "Tag der Deutsche Einheit", takes place on October 3. An annual celebration commemorating the day in 1990 when the German Democratic Republic, East Germany, officially became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. After 40 years of communism and Soviet rule.

Volkstrauertag, Remembrance Day in Germany star
November's Volkstrauertag in Germany represents all, military and civilian, who died or were left to mourn as victims of violence brought about by combat or oppression. From Europe's old battlefields to the armed conflicts and struggles in our present-day world.

Walpurgisnacht, Maibaum, May Day in Germany star
May 1st May Day Celebrations, in many parts of Germany, are filled with with Maypoles, Mayhem and Fun. Very different from the May Day parades with soldiers, rifles and tanks of communist countries, including the former East Germany.

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Past Issues

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How to Make a Schultuete, Candy Cone

Rote Grutze, Germany's Fruit Dessert Recipe

Germany's Cult Beach Chair, the Strandkorb

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