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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 He was also trying to spend money that had been outdated since the reign of the previous Emperor.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.