Category Archives: Folk traditions

Not your Grandma’s Religion

One of my blog readers recently had a “culture shock” moment. He’s a nurse, and he was filling out a patient questionnaire with a German woman. When he asked her religion, she became upset. What went wrong? Religion and society … Continue reading →

Posted in Churches and religion, Daily life, Folk traditions, Public art | 4 Comments

Die Beiden Schwestern

While flipping through the Wilhelm Busch storybook Heidi loaned me, I came across this illustration, and I think we all know what’s going on here. (See my earlier post about this literary star whose stories paved the way for the … Continue reading →

Posted in Books and reading, Folk traditions, German language, German literature | Comments Off on Die Beiden Schwestern

What Happened to Two Minutes of Silence?

Foreigners find it almost shocking that Germans dance in the streets on Veteran’s Day. It’s the anniversary of the end of World War I. How can that possibly call for a celebration? First of all, Germans certainly honor their veterans. … Continue reading →

Posted in Festivals, Folk traditions, German history, Holidays | 5 Comments

11-11-11 (at 11:11 o’clock)

St. Martin’s Day (Martintag), November 11, kicks off the beginning of German carnival season, called Fasching, Fastnacht, Fastelabend, or Karneval, depending on where you live. But as soon as it’s begun, Fasching vanishes, only to reappear after Christmas. Why the … Continue reading →

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Lighting Up the Night

Having mourned the death of the day, Germans now start having fun with the night. They traditionally celebrate November 11th, St. Martin’s Day, with a nighttime children’s parade (Martinsumzug). Rodenbach has a population of only three thousand. Nevertheless, hundreds showed … Continue reading →

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On St. Martin’s Day, little children parade through the streets after dark, singing, Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne Und meine Laterne mit mir. Dort oben leuchten die Sterne, Hier unten, da leuchten wir. I go with my lantern, and my … Continue reading →

Posted on by Clare Dunkle | 2 Comments

The Month of the Dead

In Germany, November is the month of the dead, a special time to remember lost loved ones. German Catholics set aside the first two days for this purpose: Allerheiligen, the Feast of All Saints, and Allerseelen, the Feast of All … Continue reading →

Posted in Churches and religion, Daily life, Festivals, Folk traditions, Gardening, Holidays | 4 Comments

The Passing of a People

At the end of October, nature is preoccupied with death. Leaves fall, plants decay, and even we modern humans feel a shiver pass down our spines and race out to purchase plastic skulls and polyester costumes–which, sadly, will last long … Continue reading →

Posted in Folk traditions, German history, Rural scenery | Comments Off on The Passing of a People

Wood, Water, Stone

With Halloween almost upon us, Joe and I set out into the woods this weekend to hunt for remnants of Celtic Germany. Southwest of Kindsbach, we found the Heidenfelsen (Pagan Rocks): two enormous boulders carved with cryptic figures that rest … Continue reading →

Posted in Churches and religion, Folk traditions, German history, Tourist destinations | 2 Comments

Lüftlmalerei in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Cynical tourists visiting Bavaria might be tempted to think that the bright murals on the sides of houses there have been painted for their benefit. This isn’t true. The tradition of Lüftlmalerei, or Bavarian mural painting, has flourished since at … Continue reading →

Posted in Folk traditions, German art, German house decoration, Tourist destinations | 1 Comment