German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

A classic recipe for Germany's "Spargelzeit", the country's annual obsession with White Asparagus. Deutsche Spargel Suppe, Asparagus soup, one of the most popular recipes in two months filled with the Royal Vegetable's white stalks...and just as delicious with green asparagus.

Francine A. McKenna

They are "Harbingers of Spring", bringers of babies, stars of myth, superstition and a theme route. Storks...high on the list of Germany's favorite wildlife, it's "celebration time" when they return to their nests on cliff-ledges, rooftops and chimneys, after wintering in warmer climates.

Francine A. McKenna

"Putz anfallen", the German speaking world's love of cleaning and tidying everything in sight, shows no sign of ending. Those "cleaning attacks", necessary or not, day or night and at any time of year, are an "enjoyable", even compulsive, pastime...with rules and traditions of course.

Francine A. McKenna

A cult object these days, but the first Strandkorb was invented in 1882, so an elderly aristocrat with rheumatism could continue to enjoy her beach holidays. Safely protected from the cold winds, rain, and sandblasts of the bracing North, where Germany borders the North and Baltic Seas.

Francine A. McKenna

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, every change of season is makeover time for Germany's flower boxes. A wonderful sight, colorful plant filled containers are everywhere, on door stoops, window ledges, trailing from apartment balconies, down historic buildings and ancient farmhouse walls.

Francine A. McKenna

Most Summer Solstice and Midsummer Eve festivities in German speaking countries were once mystic Pagan, and pre-Christian, festivals. Symbols for renewal, fertility and harvest. And fire still plays a major role in celebrating the triumph of sun, and light, over cold and darkness.

Francine A. McKenna

Rumtopf, for centuries a delicious way of preserving summer fruit. Beginning in early summer, with strawberries, cherries and rum of course, fruit is added as it comes into season until early autumn to make a taste of summer in winter. Easy to make, hard to mess up and so good...

Francine A. McKenna

The Christian festival that began with Palm Sunday and Easter ends with Pentecost. In German speaking regions, a mix of secular, religious and pre-Christian traditions, from devotional processions and services to decorated oxen, fertility rites, birch branches and "Wickedness Night".

Francine A. McKenna

A German "Father's Day" can be a bit of a surprise. Held on Ascension Day its date changes every year, strangely dressed men pull wagons filled with alcohol, which they drink until they pass out or the wagon is empty, and the festivities have earned their reputation as an "Accident Day".