Customs and Traditions


I’m interested in any customs. Any weird or funny ones?


Extracts from:


  • Never wish a German a happy birthday before their birthday. It is considered bad luck to do so.
  • 16th Birthday: friends pour flour on top of his/her head. Common in northern Germany.

  • 18th Birthday: Cracking eggs over the head of someone turning 18.

  • 25th Birthday: A Sockenkranz, a type of garland of socks is strung outside the home. As he follows the garland of socks, he’ll down an alcoholic drink every few meters. Why socks? The expression alte Socke (an old sock) means "confirmed bachelor.”
    For women: they follow a garland of cigarette cartons instead (or other similar-sized cartons if they are non-smokers). These single women are nicknamed eine alte Schachtel (an old box), similar in meaning to “old maid.”

:woman: :man:

  • If you live in northern Germany and happen to be single going on thirty, a few chores may be expected from you. If you’re female, your friends will want you to clean a few doorknobs for them with a toothbrush! If you’re male, then you’ll most likely be sweeping the stairs of town hall or some other busy public place.

Is it true and common? Is it safe to move over Germany after 30 yo?


I live in the south-west of Germany and this is the only true thing for my region. Germans are not all that superstitious but yes, rather be late in congratulating, than too early.

I think it’s because we never know what tomorrow brings so maybe we will not get to see the sun rise … Or because we like to “Man soll die Feste feiern, wie sie fallen.”. In the meaning of “You should celebrate, when it’s time to celebrate.”

@gaby_heitmann_975 Gaby du weißt doch bestimmt eher über die Traditionen im Norden bescheid, oder?

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That’s pretty interesting!
I didn’t know that Germany’s traditions and culture could be divided in 2, like Northern Germany and Southern Germany.

Do you know why there’s a current difference between the north and the south parts of Germany?
I would have thought that there would be a distinction between west and east parts of Germany.

The current difference, well climate wise it is usually warmer in the south, than in the north, that would be the easiest difference.
The dialect as well, between the north and the south there is a huge difference, you might have read it in another post, where we were talking about dialects.

One thing about food there is a “border” called “Weißwurstgrenze” :wink:

The thing about difference all around, you may know Germany as it is now - unified. Germany wasn’t like that for many centuries, while there was England and France, until around 1800 - you would have rather heard of the Saxons or Prussia. You might have wondered why Germany has so many castles, well the older once are called “Burgen” in German, while the younger once are called “Schlösser”. That’s because there were many kingdoms and principalities, Germany was like a "Flickenteppich/ hotchpotch " and it stayed that way for a long time. So sometimes there are regional difference until today by only driving half an hour, because history was good to as long as your leader was good and strong. In Germany the land was often divided in the case of succession, making the hotchpotch even more colorful.

Read more here if you are interested, but it’s a long read, I tell you from the medieval times roughly 800-900 years of history.,its%20dissolution%20in%201806%20during%20the%20Napoleonic%20Wars.

Edit: P.S. Almost forgot of course it had a huge impact that Germany was divided until 1989, so there are still differences you can tell, but - with our history altogether it would be weird if there wasn’t.

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lol. people do so? i never heard such things as German.
it´s sure not a nice thing to wish a early Gb… but it can happen.
neither friends in the west or east did this things on the 16 or 18th birthday.

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Thanks, Lutra! I found my lecture of the day :slight_smile: I’ll check the links you gave :smile:

I wanted to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle) last time I was in Germany, but my sister fell sick and I was really sad.
Your castles are really magnificent, I must visit them!!
German people are really pretty too LOL

When I went to Majorca (Spanish Island), I thought I went back to Berlin and saw many currywurst shops in a German neighbourhood, the menu of most restaurants was translated in German (no French or English sometimes!), cashiers and Spanish locals knew some German, some shop signs in German! Back in Berlin, I wanted to taste some currywurst at the best restaurant selling it at Berlin, it was a small stall, but there was a looong queue outside, I was really surprised!

Do you know some customs or traditions over Currywurst? What is the frenzy over it? I can’t explain it from where I am lol

Oh yes, when you 30 Jears old and not married bzw. Single… Sorry, I sit in a car :joy:
As a man you have to sweep the town hall square and as a woman you have to clean doorknobs until you are a virgin or a young man? Free kiss

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Ich leite deine Frage mal weiter und hoffe heute abend ausführlich über Bräuche im norden erzählen zu können
Lutra, bist du so lieb und übersetzt es piranna?
Ich danke dir :slight_smile::hugs:

this isn’t a custom but because you mentioned Germany I just thought about this:
My native place is a place in Karnataka, South India, and a lot of German missionaries had come there a long time ago and helped a lot of people so EVERYONE knows about them. They were the only foreigners there so now if anyone speaks too much in English or wears western clothes they call them Germans :joy:


Actually, I don’t know, most of us just love it.
Business with the Currywurst started after WWII from Berlin. Actually in my childhood you would go for a sausage on bread rolls with mustard, that was in the 70’s and I can’t even recall the first Currywurst I ate, Hot Dog yes, but … Haha, maybe when we visited Berlin in 1979 it’s most likely. I remember tasting Berliner Weiße but can’t recall the sausage, but around that time my mom would make it at home. Not that traditional, since we ate it with a white sausage, not to mix with the Bavarian Weißwurst, that’s a differernt kind, she would simply add ketchup and curry powder. I think in my town the first time I ate it was around the mid 80’s and in later years, I was more in favor to eat Curry-Frikadelle (meatballs) or Curry-Fleischkäse (meat loaf).

About Majorca it is jokingly called the 17th federal state of Germany :rofl::rofl::rofl:
As many Germans visit it (you know the new normal), well and there are many Germans who went there for making a living and enjoying the Spanish way of life with all the good things from Germany available.

Well about customs or traditions, I would just say except for vegans and vegetarians most Germans love all kind of sausages, and I swear there is an endless numer of sausages.

P.S. I never made it to Neuschwanstein, well I was standing on the other side of the lake, but it is not tempting to me. You might wonder why and I will tell you … I like to breathe history coming into such a building and Neuschwanstein has little to offer, since it was never finished. They are still working on it and plan to maybe do this room or the next as far as plans exist. I like the small castle Linderhof, or Nymphenburg in Munich where Ludwig II grew up.

Potsdam has several not only one to offer

I have not been to many castles in Germany like Dresden, Hannover, … But I was at Windsor, Versailles, Topkapi, …

But if you ask my opinion about my favorite castle it is this one, it’s still owned by family, there were once 4 families living there together and it is so rich on stories …

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I never heard of these customs :slight_smile: I only know the rule, never to congratulate too early, this brings bad luck.
And I know the custom, if you’re single on your 30th birthday friends and family gather and celebrate your birthday and a young man has to sweep up the entrance/stairs. Since the family and friends want to celebrate for a long time, they try to keep him busy and give him a toothbrush for sweeping :slight_smile: He has to continue, until a virgin will deliver him from this task with a kiss. A single woman has to polish the doorknob of a church or public building, this depends on the task, her family and friends have given her. And to make it harder for her, they smear something on the doorknob before, like honey or jam.

I’m living near Bonn, the former capital of Germany and I know, that in the past the tradition of sweeping and polishing was made in Cologne and the singles had to sweep the stairs of the “Kölner Dom” the famous church in Cologne, and the polishing of the Dom doorknob, too.

Some of our other traditions: November 11th is the beginning of the Carneval in my region, but the day of Saint Martin, too. Children are moving with self-made laterns from house to house and are singing songs about Saint Martin and get sweets and snacks. Many schools have a Saint Martin’s procession too and these are so nice and beautiful. After the procession they gather around a big “Martinsfeuer” and the children get a “Martinsweck” a piece of sweet bread. And it’s the beginning of the Pre-Christmas period, so many people celebrate a nice dinner with the traditional “Martinsgans” a big goose for the whole family. Many families are preparing christmas cookies and other delicious food for Christmas and keep eating more frugal in order to increase the anticipation for the yummy Christmas Dinner and food.

On December 4th people cut branches from cherry, apple or plum trees and put them into vases with water and keep them warm. They will blossom on Christmas and this is a sign of luck. This tradition is of celtic origin.
On November1st we celebrate “Allerheiligen” (All Saints) and think of our beloved deceased. Many people visit the graves of their family and clean them up and “pimp” them up, well dressed, a big show on the graveyards :slight_smile: At home they light up candles and pray for the deceased. Not knowing that this holiday is of celtic origins called “Samhain”, the celtic holiday for “Halloween” and the German “Allerheiligen”.

On December 6th we celebrate “Saint Nikolaus” and children will hang their socks (usually special made pretty socks) on their doorknobs and the parents will fill them with chocolate, sweets and little gifts. In schools and kindergardens the Saint Nikolaus with his helper “Knecht Ruprecht” will visit the children and give them little gifts. The “Knecht Ruprecht” is a scary man and he asks if the children have been obedient and well behaved. Otherwise they could be punished. :slight_smile: Especially the little children have lots of respect ^^

And basing on this tradition in lots of schools, kindergardens, even for the grown-ups in clubs or at work, they will make the “Wichteln” (Secret Santa) which means, everyone will buy or make a small gift and they exchange them by drawing numbers. The funny version is the “Schrottwichteln” (trash version) and everyone provides something really ugly, weird, useless, trashy, often previous gifts, nobody wants to keep :slight_smile:


Now I can start,
The Nordic customs and Traditions :
Rummelpott run Sylvester

May fire

Roland riding and ring riding / spear riding

Cabbage days with cabbage cut :grin:

Biikebrennen 21.02

Lantern running





Various wedding anniversaries, But I think they are celebrated everywhere.

5 years of marriage childless, windbüddelhochtiet

12,5 Parsley wedding
If the couple doesn’t have parsley in the house, wear it The couple bears the cost of the impromptu party…



Well not like what I experienced, when I visited your region once, the house we lived in was owned by a lovely couple, and they had their 25th wedding anniversary, so early in the morning we heard whispers in the front yard and some bong, bong, sounds and when we took a look outside the window there was this huge 25 at least 2 m high standing there in silver and decorated with balloons and what not.

In our place unknown, never heard of, never seen it.

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The sock wreath is a custom The sock wreath is given to a single young man in view of his 25th birthday as a symbol of his late unmarried Hanging over the entrance door…
With it the concerning is marked due to its unmarried in the “high age” as old sock :blush:

We have fun :laughing:

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Very interesting!

I wouldn’t have liked being single and over 30 in Germany! :laughing:

I’ve visited Schloss Neushwanstein and it was magical! But I think I called it Schloss Neushweinstein by mistake and they laughed at it because it sounded like a swine (pig) castle, instead of swan castle! lol

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It’s not everywhere in Germany, I don’t think it is a tradition in our region, at least I didn’t have to clean any door knobs.

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Haha, that’s good. :grinning:

@lutra :flushed: that surprises me, I really believed that the 25th, 50th and 60th wedding anniversary is celebrated everywhere?
Neighbors and acquaintances meet on a Wednesday before the festival and tie the wreath, Garland… Either they come in the evening or early morning and attach it to the door frame or find a suitable place in the garden…

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Kind of, but most people I know either only have coffee and cake or barbecue or will celebrate by themselves, my friends actually went on a sweet little weekend trip including a nice dinner and watched a musical together, children now old enough to “hold the fort” now.

I think it is slowly vanishing to celebrate big.

For example the Polterabend, the evening before the wedding, later the couple would take the weekend before the wedding. Usually it was tradition to throw porcelain and stoneware. As we have a saying “Scherben bringen Glück” - shards bring good fortune, that’s something you wish for everyone at the start of a marriage.
It is called Polterabend because “poltern” means making a lot of noise and “Abend” stands for evening.

I had a lot to attend in the 70’s and 80’s with my parents, in the 90’ maybe a handful, so around 5, and after 2000 there is this new tradition to walk around in the city and the couple spends their day separately. The girls will fill a vendor’s tray with all kind of stuff and sell it to passersby while drinking lots of alcohol, I think the guys only go for the drink. Anyway at a Polterabend the couple would usually sweep the shards away and many fear the work, well depends on the couple how often and what they brought to other couples in the past.
I have seen it all people climbing up a garage to throw an old toilet or sink. And someone driving a truck, bring it in position, tipping the load and it made clong, clong, clong and there was one cup.

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Thanks for all the links and stories! I can’t read everything right now, but hopefully, the links are saved here!

(Sanssouci!! Great gardens, nice Chinese House, beautiful place!)

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