CULTURE (2017 | Issue 3)

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Festivals in Germany

Food, Festivals and Fun!

Germany is a nation of festivals. And Germans sure know how to celebrate! They have a festival for nearly every occasion and time of year. There’s no better way to discover German culture than to immerse yourself in the celebrations. What’s Up, Germany? gives you a glimpse of the traditional festivals.

Weihnacht Wonder

Christmas is usually celebrated with the family at home—with the works: Christmas trees, gingerbread cakes, decorated wreaths and hearty feasts! Cities and towns come to life with traditional Christmas markets. These little pockets of magic are where people gather, listen to choirs and brass bands, drink beer or hot mulled wine. Quaint stalls sell sugar-roasted almonds, stollen (fruit bread), Christmas decorations and handicrafts like wooden toys and prune people. Germany’s oldest and most famous Christmas market is in Nuremberg.

Easter Ease

In the weeks leading up to Easter, chocolate bunnies and colourful eggs are displayed in shop windows. On the morning of Easter Sunday, children have a field day looking for hidden eggs! And in the evening, families usually enjoy a traditional meal of roast lamb. Huge bonfires are also lit on 30th April.

Carnival Craze

Karneval or Fasching is party time! There are huge parades and people hit the streets in wild costumes. On this day, customary German orderliness and rules are given a miss. Women get to kiss any man after cutting off his tie! Carnival season is the perfect time to have fun German style!

German Food Festivals

There are more than 10,000 festivals in Germany celebrating music, film, food, beer and lots more! What’s Up, Germany? gives you a taste of some delightful food and drink festivals.

What better way to experience a country than through its food and drink? There’s a lot more to German food than sausages, bread and potatoes! Sure, there are 1,500 different types of sausages available, but once you go beyond this generalisation, you’ll see that each region has its own specialty. The tradition of meeting friends and family in the late afternoon for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) is still quite popular.

Modern Eating

Today, Germany has a very creative food scene. Many international foods have been adopted; the döner kebab, popularised by Turkish immigrants, is actually the favourite street snack! Food trucks and food events are all the rage. The idea is to enjoy simple—but high-quality—dishes in public spaces along with good conversation. You can also have your share of fine dining at one of the nine three-Michelin-starred restaurants. German restaurants are the second-most decorated in the world.

Staying Grounded

A trend that’s catching on fast is organic food. Germans are also increasingly buying regional produce for their freshness and authenticity. The idea is, the nearer the produce grows to the cooking pot, the better. Quite a few Germans are turning vegetarian or vegan.

Hic, hic, hurray!

If beer is the king, wine is the queen! They are so integral to German culture, there are numerous festivals dedicated to them. Oktoberfest is the mother of all beer festivals. Every September, people from around the world gather in Munich for this event. It’s a heady mix of beer, oompah bands, pretzels and sausages. When it comes to wine festivals,  Germany’s Wurstmarkt stands out as the largest in the world. It takes place in Bad Dürkheim, also in September. In 2016, Wurstmarkt celebrated its 600th anniversary with 150 varieties of wine, including the noble Riesling!

Guten Appetit!

There are some rather unusual food festivals like the Lampertheim Asparagus Festival and the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. One celebrates the humble pumpkin in autumn, while the other celebrates the unassuming asparagus in summer. The former, with over 4,50,000 pumpkins on display, is the largest such festival on the planet. During the annual boat race, canoeists try to steer giant pumpkin boats across the lake! Germans are crazy about asparagus. This vegetable has been the star of the festival since 1900: arts, crafts, food, everything revolves around it!