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How to Say Happy New Year in German & New Year Wishes

Learn all the German New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join GermanPod101 for a special German New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in German

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in German? Let a native teach you! At GermanPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these German New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in German
  2. Must-Know German Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in German
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn German

But let’s start with some vocabulary for German New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in German

Silvester is the German word for the last day of the year, in other words, December 31. The name “Silvester” dates back to Pope Silvester I, who died in Rome on the last day of the year – the 355th day.

What purpose did fireworks in Germany serve originally?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep reading!

On December 31, shops are open till 2 pm. Those with jobs need to work, while others finish their shopping before noon for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, known as Neujahr, for the following celebrations. Some pass the time with parlor games and in the evening, they eat raclette or fondue together.

In the last days of the year, people wish each other a “good start for the New Year” which is known as Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr, and literally translates to “a good Head-Start into the new year.” At big public places such as the Brandenburg Gate or Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, many people celebrate the change of the year together. Church bells ring on New Year at midnight, and many people watch New Years Eve fireworks, which are called Neujahrsfeuerwerk. Others set off fireworks themselves, including rockets or firecrackers, or welcome the New Year with sparklers.

At midnight, most people clink glasses filled with champagne and wish each other a “Happy New Year” or Frohes neues Jahr in German. Some dress up and go to a New Year’s party and celebrate in high spirits until the early morning. Others celebrate quietly at home or watch the British comedy sketch Dinner for One on television, which has traditionally been broadcast since 1963.

On Silvester afternoon, people entertain themselves with the old fortune-telling custom of lead-pouring; to get one’s horoscope for the new year, lead is melted with a candle and poured into cold water. The lead hardens into a shape that is interpreted to have a certain meaning.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What purpose did fireworks in Germany serve originally?

The old Germans, who lived in the fourth and sixth century BC, expelled evil spirits with fire and noise. This tradition is a forerunner to today’s Silvester fireworks displays.

Happy New Year!
Frohes Neues Jahr!

2. Must-Know German Words & Phrases for the New Year!

German Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

Jahr

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in German could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

Mitternacht

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

Neujahr

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

Party

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

Tanzen

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

Champagner

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

Feuerwerk

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

Countdown

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Silvester-Urlaub

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

Konfetti

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Silvester

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

Trinkspruch

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

Vorsatz

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

Parade

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At GermanPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what German New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the German word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at GermanPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your German friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Mehr lesen.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more German in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your German language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Mehr Zeit mit der Familie verbringen.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

Abnehmen.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

Geld sparen.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to GermanPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Mit dem Rauchen aufhören.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Etwas Neues lernen.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Weniger trinken.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Regelmäßig Sport treiben.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Mich gesund ernähren.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study German with GermanPod101

Deutsch lernen mit GermanPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning German, especially with us! Learning how to speak German can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. GermanPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special German new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in German, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read German incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with GermanPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in German could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in German - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with German - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with GermanPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn German! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that GermanPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

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  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning German with GermanPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in German

How to Say Merry Christmas in German

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in German? GermanPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of German Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native German speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, GermanPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in German!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Germany
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How GermanPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Germany

Christmas Words in German

Let’s talk about how Christmas Eve, or in German Heiligabend, is celebrated in Germany. This day commemorates the birth of Christ, known as Geburt Jesu Christi, and is always celebrated on December 24. This festival is one of the most important events in the Christian church.

Before we get into more detail, I’ve got a question for you-

What is it that most German children have to do before they get their Christmas gifts?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep reading!

On Christmas Eve in Germany, shops remain open until around 2pm, and some people use this time for their last-minute Christmas shopping. Since this is not a holiday, employed people need to go to work if they have not taken paid vacation. The time until the distribution of presents serves as preparation time. Who do you think brings the presents? In Germany, it is either Christ Child, in German called Christkind, or Santa Claus, called Weihnachtsmann. Who it is varies from region to region.

December 24 is usually celebrated within the family circle. The proceedings start when the Christmas tree, or in German Weihnachtsbaum, is decorated, the candles are lit, and the gifts are unwrapped. Children wait with longing for this moment and look forward to the gift-giving. At Christmas Eve, some families prefer to have simple meals such as potato salad with sausages, while others prefer more lavish dishes such as goose or duck, well-known as Weihnachtsgans or Weihnachtsente.

Every year the Federal President of Germany provides an official Christmas message, which is televised. Many people attend a church service, which typically takes place at a Christmas mass called Weihnachtsgottesdienst held in the afternoon or with a nativity play in the evening, or at night. A festively decorated Christmas tree and lots of candles brightly illuminate the church, and many well-known carols are sung during the church service, for example: Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, which means “From Heaven, I come here,” O Tannenbaum meaning “O Christmas tree,” Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht which is “Silent Night, Holy Night” and O du fröhliche meaning “O Holy Night.”

In some families, the time for giving gifts is announced by ringing a small bell, causing many children to wait anxiously for this sound on Christmas Eve.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What is it that most German children have to do before they get their gifts?

In many families it is common that children first have to recite a poem, sing a song, or play something on an instrument to Santa Claus or the Christ Child—only then are they allowed to unwrap their presents.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Frohe Weihnachten!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in German? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Glücklicher Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Haben Sie ein glückliches neues Jahr!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Ein frohes Chanukka-Fest!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Schönen Winterurlaub!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Bis zum nächsten Jahr!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Alles Gute!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in German Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Frohe Feiertage!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in German, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Genießen Sie die Feiertage!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in German, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Die besten Wünsche für das neue Jahr!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in German! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At GermanPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Weihnachten

This is the German word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in German will include this word!

2- Snow

Schnee

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

Schneeflocke

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

Schneemann

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

Truthahn

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

Kranz

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

Rentier

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Weihnachtsmann

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

Elf

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolf, das kleine Rentier

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Nordpol

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

Schlitten

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

Geschenk

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

Glocke

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

Schornstein

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

Kamin

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Weihnachten

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

Dekoration

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

Strumpf

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

Stechpalme

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

Lebkuchenhaus

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

Zuckerstange

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

Mistelzweig

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in German, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in German! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. GermanPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From German for Absolute Beginners to Advanced German, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, GermanPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct German. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in GermanPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

German Culture - Siebenschler (Seven Sleepers Day) in Germany

Siebenschler is refered to as “Seven Sleepers Day,” which means if it rains on a particular day, the belief is that it will rain seven weeks in succession or the remaining summer days. It reminds people of the Legend of Seven Sleepers and is a German holiday, but particular in the southern parts of Germany.

This belief started with the Egyptians five thousand years ago and was adapted by the Romans. However, it was the Christians that used it to connect with their annual weather calendar year.

July 7th of each year is the correct date for Seven Sleepers Day except for the Julian calendar’s version. The legend stands that during the Roman Emperor persecution, there were seven young men who were blamed for adapting the Christian faith. They were given extended period of time to relinquish their faith, but they did not do that.

Instead, they gave away all their belongings and went into the mountains to dwell in caves and used their time to pray and that is where they fell asleep.

The Emperor saw that they did not want to embrace the pagan religion and it angered him so he put an order in for his men to go to the mountains and seal up the cave where the seven young men were sleeping.

Ten years passed and no one opened the mouth of the cave until a landowner decided to use it for a pen for his cattle. When the landowner opened the cave, according to the legend, he found the seven sleepers there and as they saw him, they woke up and imagined that they had only been asleep for one day and not ten years.

One of the seven sleepers returned to the community in Ephesus and found buildings that had the cross attached to it. He was also trying to spend money that had been outdated since the reign of the previous Emperor. The people were astonished and called for the Bishop, who interrogated the seven young men as they explained to him their story of sleeping for ten years. The Seven Sleepers Day was derived from that legend.

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Learn German Culture - Johannistag (Midsummer’s day) in Germany

Johannistag is Midsummer’s day in Germany. It is held in June of each year and is centered on summer solstice. It is also said to represent the day of John the Baptist. During this time, people were of the impression that the midsummer plants had healing and miraculous powers.

The celebration begins with a lit bonfire that is indicative of getting rid of evil spirits who were thought to be on the loose when the sun turned to the south, which was when the midsummer began.

In Germany, a decree was issued by the Nuremberg town council on June 20th 1653, which allowed the people of Germany the right to celebrate this occasion around their bonfires as they carried out their superstitious activities of ridding their town of all kinds of evil spirits.

The Midsummer’s day begins on June 24th of each year and is an indication of the beginning of the summer. It is a cultural event to use this day as a celebration depending on what each country believes. As discussed above, the Germans believe that this day is the designated day to get rid of evil from their communities.

They plan this bonfire ceremony to cast out all spirits that want to come in and harm them. Some of these spirits were thought to be from the witches in the area that called them out during their celebration of the Midsummer Day.

The Summer solstice link to Midsummer Day began in ancient times. During this time, “need-fires,” is one of the German practices that exemplify the Midsummer Day. It was used in a religious practice to heal the domestic animals. The animals were driven between two fires that were started by rubbing wood together.

To prevent disease in pigs, they also passed through the fires. In the mountain areas, the folks extinguish all fires from their homes and walk to a specific location with their farm animals. They light a fire and let the animals pass through it to prevent any type of plague in their villages.

The need-fires take place in different areas during the Midsummer Day and is thought of being a preventative action against any disease that may occur later.

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