Traditions and Customs
There are some customs in Germany which might appear strange and funny to anyone who is not familiar with them. Most know that on 1 April a colleague will play a trick on you but why would a man sweep away the straw on the steps of the city hall? These traditions share hundred of years history and even many Germans either don’t know them or where they originate.
But what is tradition actually? Tradition is the written or verbal passing on of customs, capabilities or knowledge. Scientific knowledge just as much as knowledge about fairy tales, myths, religions and crafts. Traditions are passed on through groups, society or between generations, they help define cultures and they specify societies.
But back to typically German customs. On Easter Sunday and Monday an Easter Rabbit, Osterhase, brings Chocolate eggs that have previously been hidden. A custom of pagan origin.
Saint Martin, one of the best known saints of the Catholic Church, is celebrated in the 11 November. Celebrations and candles symbolise the adoration of Martin of Tours. Depending on the region, children meet for Saint Martin’s Day Singing, Martinssingen, going from house to house to ask for sweets after singing traditional songs.
Witty traditions to birthdays are possibly the stair sweep or treppenfegen for men and the door knob cleaning or Klinkenputzen for women when they become thirty and are not yet married. They are released from this task only if a virgin or young servant kisses them. Another custom exists for the 25 birthday on which the women get a wreath of cartons and the men a wreath from old socks hung before the door.
German Link: brauchtum