German Festivals and Holidays

Nobody celebrates like the Germans! Germany has a festival for nearly every occasion and every time of year. Here’s a brief glimpse of Germany’s better-known festivals, and the food and traditions that accompany them.

Karneval / Fasching

The celebration of Carnival (Karneval or Fasching) ? from which our New Orleans Mardi Gras is derived ? is a time for eating, drinking and merriment before the solemn days of Lent…

Easter (Ostern)

German children believe that if they are good, the Osterhase, literally the Easter bunny, will lay a nest of colored eggs and hide them throughout the home…

Asparagus season (Spargelzeit)

April marks the beginning of Spargelzeit, asparagus season, in Germany. The first crop of the popular white German asparagus is harvested around mid-April and the season runs through the feast of St. John the Baptist (June 24). Farmer’s markets, supermarkets and restaurants across Germany offer the revered vegetable, which the average German enjoys at least once a day during asparagus season…

Mayfest (Maifest)

Mayfest is one of mankind’s oldest traditions, the celebration of nature’s bright reawakening after winter’s cold darkness…

Hochzeitsbräuche (Wedding Traditions):

From the famous wedding march to luscious wedding banquets – many global nuptial events may include sprinkles of German traditions.

BBQ

You might be surprised to know that many foods Americans associate with tailgates, picnics and barbecues actually originated in Germany…

Weinfest

German wine festivals are as diverse as the products they celebrate and some date back 500 years…

First Day of School (Einschulung)

The First Day of School, Einschulung, is a very special event in Germany that symbolizes the importance of a child’s formal education…

Oktoberfest

The world’s biggest beer festival has become a celebration of international stature…

Erntedank (Harvest Festival)

A celebration of thanks giving, much like the tradition in the United States of Thanksgiving. This day originated as a harvest festival celebration, and has since grown into a large religious and cultural phenomenon all through Germany…

Halloween

While this celebration of all things ghoulish and creepy isn’t celebrated on such a grand scale as it is in the United States, Halloween has become increasingly popular in Germany over the past decade…

St. Martin’s Day (Martinstag)

Each year German children celebrate St Martin’s Day; carrying lanterns, and singing special lantern songs they walk around the streets in a procession after darkness falls…

Christmas (Weinachten)

Many cherished Christmas traditions celebrated today around the world actually originated in Germany. Popular Christmas carols like “Silent Night” or “Oh Tannenbaum,” gingerbread cookies and candy canes — even the iconic Christmas tree — have come to North America by way of Germany…

New Year’s Eve (Silvester)

A very colorful night filled with good food, music, dancing and friends! Silvester in Germany consists of parties in city squares, sparkling wine and kisses at midnight. Like in America, it is a widespread event, and it is incredibly popular with those of all ages…

New Years’ Day (Neujahr)

Much like the night that precedes it, New Year’s Day is a time for family and friends, and of course good food! The country celebrates the coming of another year with a federal holiday, public concerts and feasts for families and friends!