As the first day of school approaches in America, many take a look at some of the back-to school traditions with which they grew up. However, one back to school tradition in Germany is incredibly popular, as it is filled with sweet treats, and is sure to interest any American student! The Schultüte, also known as a Zuckertüte, has been an incredible invention in human history. It has helped to motivate newly-minted students for their first day of school in Germany. A Schultüte, or a “school cone,” contains sweets and treats for students on their first day of school! While the thought of homework for the first time, or for another year, may dampen the mood among some students, a few sweet surprises can lighten the load!
The Schultüte is a German tradition that takes place every August or September at the start of the school year. Einschulung (the first day of school) is a very special event that symbolizes the importance of a child’s formal education. How, then, is it celebrated? With a special cone-shaped container, the Schultüte, which is about three feet tall! It is filled with candy, toys and school supplies and is given as a gift from the parents to their children. The Schultüte makes children feel special on this day instead of anxious!
How it all began
The history of the Schultüte harkens back to the year 1810 in the Germanic regions of Saxonia and Thuringia. Here, wealthy and privately-schooled children received large cone-shaped bags filled with sweets and toys to celebrate their first day of school. It wasn’t until much later that the lower class children were given public schooling. Then, the practice became mainstream and has since grown into a time-honored back-to-school routine. However, in 1910 this handcrafted tradition was compromised. Carl August Nestler from Wiesa in Saxony began to mass-produce the token bags. Unfortunately the Schultüten are mostly produced by machine today for efficiency’s sake. Today, more than 700,000 such bags are sold every year in Germany.
What goes into the Schultüte:
To surprise American students on their first day of the school year, surprise them with sweets, treats and useful things! The cones can be ordered online, but if you want to be creative, craft a Schultüte of your own! If you have youngsters, here are some fun things to put in the bags: crayons, erasers, watches, yo-yos, hair ties/clips, gum and stuffed toys. And, as is the German tradition, fill the Schultüte up with some authentic German candies such as the following:
Additionally, for older students, you may want to add some healthy energy and brain foods, such as:
See our online store for these and other goodies!