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German Culture

November 16 2012 German Culture Newsletter

It is approaching "The Holiday" season, but there is one annual celebration which takes place somewhere hundreds of times each day and throughout the year, and that is a birthday.

And in Germany it really is a special occasion, even if you have left childhood far behind, so this week's article is about:


It is not a good idea to wish any German "Geburtstagkind", Birthday Child, a "Happy Birthday" until the actual day, while someone celebrating their 90th needs a very large cake, and perhaps a fire extinguisher. Why? It's "Birthdays" the German way.

And this week's Word of the Week is BLUEMCHENKAFFEE, which is what will not be served at any birthday party these days.

Literally translated as "Flower Coffee" the word first came into use in post war Germany when both money and food were in short supply.

Those who liked coffee would carefully preserve their supply for as long as possible, by making the brew so weak it was possible to see the flower patterns decorating the bottom of cups as it was being drunk.

So that is how weak coffee, or a weak drink, became known as "Bluemchenkaffee".

There is much more to read and discover on the German Culture site, which also has a forum, so if there is anything you would like to see or if you have any questions or comments then please feel free to get in touch, either in the forum or via email.

Francine McKenna-Klein,
German Culture Editor

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