October is a month where the leaves are changing colour, and starting to fall, the air is getting colder, and we see momentos of Halloween in every shop window.
The love of ghosts and ghouls at this time of year in Ireland got us thinking of similar traditions in Germany, and how we celebrate Halloween and other Autumn traditions.
This isn’t a huge holiday celebration in Germany, although children take great joy in dressing up in school and some often do trick-or-treating, albeit not this year due to the pandemic. You will find the supermarkets filled with face paints, costumes, candy, pumpkins and more to help people celebrate. Germany holds one of the world's largest pumpkin festivals Kürbisausstellung in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart on the grounds of the local Residenzschloss palace. This event opened in August and runs till November 1st, where some of the world’s largest pumpkins can be seen, pumpkin statues, pumpkin story telling, pumpkin carving, and everything in between. One to keep an eye on for your visit next year.
Martinstag (St Martin's Day) is an old German custom on November 11th where children line the streets with lanterns at night time to celebrate St Martin. St Martin reminds me of St Patrick here in Ireland, as we celebrate him for his kindness and his services as a monk in the Catholic church. Laternelaufen, the carrying of the lanterns and the correlation between St Martin has yet to be known, however the procession along the street, a once Catholic tradition, is now a mainstream celebration all over Germany. We may even encourage our German language students to do some arts and crafts and make their own lantern and bring to class.
St Martin's Day marks the beginning of Carnival season with different traditions, locations and dates- Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht.
Karneval is based in the Rhineland, Cologne and Dusseldorf, Fasching is based in Bavaria, Berlin, and Austria, with Fastnacht the Swabian-Alemannic carnival found in Baden-Württemberg, northern Bavaria, Hesse and much of Switzerland. Carnival processions are held and people celebrate on the street, officially ending on Ash Wednesday the following year.
German Reunification Day
Although this day has passed, it is important to note the day Germany reunited and was declared one on October 3rd 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall happened on the 9th of November, with the Unification Treaty signed on the 20th of September in 1990, and declaring the 3rd of October a national holiday and an end of the division in Germany. Usually this day is commemorated at the Brandenburg Gate, however due to the pandemic, there were no major celebrations this year.
To celebrate this important day we here at GermanMind ran a competition to offer 3 free classes to one lucky person! Check out our Instagram to see who won.
Saint Nicholas Day
St Nicholas Day takes place on December 6th, and marks the start of the Christmas period with St Nicholas visiting schools and communities, sharing gold coins and small gifts with children. He was a 4th Century Bishop who helped the needy, and this day we remind ourselves to help and support one another. This is a smaller gift giving day to mark St Nicholas, but Christmas day is still the main gift giving and family celebration.
There are many reasons to learn German, especially our holiday traditions, but with only 10 weeks to go till Christmas, now is the time to start your journey with the German language. We have only 7 courses available till 2021, check out our group courses available in class at our school in Dublin 2, or online in our virtual classroom. Check out our schedule and find what class best suits your needs.