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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Germany Series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind German holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 23 - Harvest Festival.
In this lesson, we will talk about the harvest festival or “Erntedankfest” in German, which is celebrated in Germany every year on the first Sunday in October, and is one of the country's oldest traditions.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
In rural areas, people celebrate yet another event on the first Sunday in October. Do you know which one it is?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
After the autumn harvest, the people thank God for the gifts of the harvest, which is why they traditionally host a celebration after the harvest in autumn. However, the people do not believe that only God is responsible for a good harvest. They also see themselves as a part of the natural world on which they depend. Today, on the occasion of Harvest Festival, people’s attention is drawn to the plight of people in need, and they give donations during church services and outside of the church.
On this day, the altars in churches are decorated with nuts, vegetables, grains and fruit to honor God. In addition to a church service, Thanksgiving parades are organized at different places. The procession is accompanied by numerous flower-bedecked floats or “Blumenschmuck”; the motifs on the floats represent harvest situations. The Thanksgiving crown or “Erntedankkrone” is specifically designed for the procession as a sign of gratitude and is carried by the participants. More than ninety folk-costumes and music groups take part in the largest parades. Many people come to watch the parade, in which people dance and sing.
Many songs and poems have been written on Thanksgiving. A well-known poem is “The seed" or “Das Samenkorn” written by Joachim Ringelnatz. The poem famously goes "A bit of seed was lying around when a blackbird spied it on the ground. While I could dine upon this feast, I'll pity take on this seed, at least. Because the blackbird left it lie, the seed had time to grow quite high. And now it is a great large tree with nests snuggled high quite blissfully. That blackbird built its nest above, and sang quite loud of nesting love."
Every year, a new harvest queen, called “Erntekönigin” in German, is chosen not only for all of Germany, but for individual cities and federal states as well. The Allgaeu cheese queen is a particularly popular local queen, for example.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
In rural areas, people celebrate yet another event on the first Sunday in October. Do you know which one it is?
On October 1, the so called "Almabtrieb" festival, a festival to celebrate bringing cattle down from the mountain pastures, takes place in rural areas or in the mountains. The festival involves bringing the cows that have spent the summer on the mountain pastures down to their barns once more. While walking the animals through the valley, the animals are adorned with decorative flowers and bells. "Almabtrieb" is very famous in rural areas and many villagers come to watch the event.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you also celebrate Thanksgiving Day in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com. Until next time!

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Do you also celebrate Harvest Festival in your country?