German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

They are "Harbingers of Spring", bringers of babies, stars of myth, superstition and a theme route. Storks...high on the list of Germany's favorite wildlife, it's "celebration time" when they return to their nests on cliff-ledges, rooftops and chimneys, after wintering in warmer climates.

Francine A. McKenna

"Putz anfallen", show no sign of ending. Those "cleaning attacks", necessary or not, day or night and at any time of year, although even more so in spring. An "enjoyable", even compulsive, pastime in the German speaking world...but with rules and traditions of course.

Francine A. McKenna

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, every change of season is makeover time for Germany's flower boxes. A wonderful sight, colorful plant filled containers are everywhere, on door stoops, window ledges, trailing from apartment balconies, down historic buildings and ancient farmhouse walls.

Francine A. McKenna

The Christian festival that began with Palm Sunday and Easter ends with Pentecost. In German speaking regions, a mix of secular, religious and pre-Christian traditions, from devotional processions and services to decorated oxen, fertility rites, birch branches and "Wickedness Night".

Francine A. McKenna

A German "Father's Day" can be a bit of a surprise. Held on Ascension Day its date changes every year, strangely dressed men pull wagons filled with alcohol, which they drink until they pass out or the wagon is empty, and the festivities have earned their reputation as an "Accident Day".

Francine A. McKenna

May is "THE" month to marry in Germany, and the country's different regions have many of their own, often "eccentric", wedding customs. Traditions often begin weeks before the wedding, with the festivities lasting for days.

Francine A. McKenna

May enters with some weird and wonderful traditions in many regions of Germany, and the fun and games begin with Walpurgisnacht, when "Witches" join the festivities late on April 30. "Tanz in den Mai", dancing the night away until maypoles and day-drinking welcome May and Spring.

Francine A. McKenna

Special beers and secret recipes made sure a Lenten Fast was never all about deprivation for German monks, but their traditions and fast breaking recipes soon spread outside monastery walls. Maultaschen, Herrgottsbescheisserle - "Little Cheaters of the Lord" included. An over sized ravioli.