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g German Culture Site

BellaOnline's German Culture Editor

Celebrations and Holidays

Traditions, celebrations and holidays often go hand in hand in Germany, with many common throughout the country, but the different states also have their own additional and alternative festivities.

Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in Germany star
German Weihnachten is an enchanting time filled with age old religious, secular and folk traditions, which begins with Advent in November and lasts until Epiphany, Three Kings Day, in January. Here are all the links to the different celebrations and customs.

All Easter Traditions and Customs in Germany star
It is a mass of colour where decorated eggs, egg trees and chocolate rabbits do play a large part, however there are many additional religious, secular, folk and food traditions and customs around the days of remembrance and festivities. Including Palm Sunday processions, ´Green´ meals to be eaten on Maundy Thursday, and Easter bonfires made from old Christmas Trees. Here are all the Links to an Easter celebration in Germany.

Carnival in Germany star
Karneval. Fun and chaos before Lent, especially in Germany´s wine regions. Any Karnevalmuffel, not fans, avoid Carnival areas where strangers embrace, bars make 40 percent of their annual earnings, and "The Fifth and Foolish Season" takes over city streets.

Celebrating New Year in Germany star
A New Years Eve in Germany. There are traditions old, new, some based on customs from the pagan past and they are all designed to ensure the coming year will have the best chance possible of becoming a vintage one. So here's how a German "Silvester" is celebrated.

Father´s Day in Germany star
Father’s Day in Germany is something of a ‘moveable feast’, as it is linked to Ascension Day which changes each year. But to those who are new to it the first experience of a German Father’s Day can come as a bit of a shock, as that is not the only way the celebration differs from other countries.

German New Year Tradition, Bleigiessen star
A quirky way of telling the future. Melting heavy metal, dropping it in water and divining the future from shapes made. Bleigiessen, lead pouring, a favorite German New Year tradition that's more eco-friendly these days, and here's a version to try complete with over 100 interpretations.

Halloween and All Saints Day in Germany star
Halloween has arrived in Germany. Although not quite in the style of the USA´s huge Trick or Treat Festival nevertheless the witches have returned, parties are held and pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls are to be seen in the country´s cities and suburbs, alongside the traditional All Saints Day customs.

International Children's Day in Germany star
Germany celebrates two "Children's Days". International "Kindertag" on June 1 has gifts as well as tradition, while "World Children's Day" is in September. Both holidays with real purpose and goals, but divided into "East" and "West", just as they were before Germany's reunification.

Lent, Medieval Monks and a Maultaschen Recipe star
Special beers and secret recipes made sure the Lenten Fast was never all about deprivation for German monks. Their traditions, and fast breaking recipes, soon spread outside monastery walls, including "Herrgottsbescheisserle", Little Cheaters of the Lord; an over sized ravioli.

Munich´s Oktoberfest star
A huge, historic, country fair, the world’s largest Volksfest. The Oktoberfest started as a horse race to honour a wedding and over 200 years later, although it has moved with the times, it remains an annual festival of traditional Bavarian exuberance, draught beer and beer garden food.

New Year´s Eve in Germany, Sylvester star
Sylvester, Germany´s celebration of New Years Eve, is a mixture of ancient and relatively modern tradition, based in part on customs from the country´s Pagan past and all designed to ensure that the coming year will have the best chance possible of becoming a vintage one.

Schultueten and the first school day star
The first day at school is a milestone in the lives of German children. Whenever possible parents and grandparents escort the new pupil to school where, after welcoming speeches and songs, those photos taken for posterity and with that Schultuete held tightly, it´s time for school life to begin.

St. Martin´s Day in Germany star
Candle lit lantern processions with singing children, a St. Martin "Weckmann" eaten by a warming bonfire. Beginning with a church service in his honor and perhaps ending with a traditional goose supper, "Martinsgans", a the is a typical Sankt Martinstag in Germany

St. Nicholas in Germany star
There would be no Santa Claus if there hadn't been a St. Nicholas. His reputation as a secret benefactor and giver of gifts was the inspiration for Sinterklaas, and with St. Nicholas Eve on December 5 and December 6 St. Nicholas Day, "Nikolaus" is still a magical time in many regions of Europe.

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. A long way from the May Day parades with soldiers, rifles and tanks of communist countries, including the former East Germany.

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