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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Germany series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential information about Germany, German culture, and German people. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 1 - German Wedding Customs. In German, a wedding is called Hochzeit.
Germany has many traditions surrounding weddings.
In addition to those that can be found in countries all over the world, there are also some uniquely German traditions related to weddings.
One of these customs is the wedding-eve party or Polterabend. This party happens on the day before the wedding. The literal meaning of Polterabend is "noisy evening," because ceramic dishes, or Porzellan, are smashed in front of the house of the bride. This is supposed to bring good luck to the union, and scare away evil spirits. Shattered glass or mirrors, on the other hand, are considered bad luck, so they are not used in this custom. The bride, or Braut, and groom, or Bräutigam, clean up the broken pieces together afterwards. The party is a very relaxed celebration, so attendees can dress casually and aren’t expected to bring any gifts for the couple.
Another amusing German wedding tradition is the kidnapping of the bride of the newly wedded couple, or frisch vermählt. This tradition is usually found in countryside areas. In a bridal kidnapping, the bride is kidnapped at the reception by the wedding party, friends, or family. She secretly leaves the reception with this group, and goes from one restaurant, or Gaststätte, to the next. The groom has to follow the bride. At each restaurant the groom pays the bill, and receives a clue that hints at which restaurant the bride is going to next. When the bride reaches the last restaurant, she waits for the groom to pay her ransom by performing a song or through some other action.
After the party, the couple can also expect a surprise. In many areas, it's the task of friends and relatives to set up some sort of prank in the couple’s house. Some common pranks include filling the house with balloons, hiding alarm clocks that are set to ring at different times throughout the house, and blocking the way to the bedroom so that the couple can only enter it after they've solved a set of riddles.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What kind of customs are there for weddings in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!