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With Summerbreak almost over, stores are stocking their shelves with school supplies for the new school year. The isles and baskets are overloaded with binders, pencils and books. Colorful school back packs are lined up along with sports bags, matching lunch boxes and these odd looking upside down matching dounce hats….

Well actually, they are not dounce hats, but what is called a Schul – or Zuckertüte (school- or sugar bag). When the children in Germany start first grade it is celebrated by giving them a Schultüte. Started back in 1810 kids in Saxony and Thuringia started the tradition by bringing those cones filled with candy to their first day of school and the Schultüte tradition fought on quickly and spread across Germany like a wildfire. Back then they were filled with fruit, little cakes and cookies and candy of course, giving the little ones something to look forward to after that first scary school day.

Today, Schultüten are one of the staples when it comes to school start. Often the kids get to craft their own cone in Kindergarden as part of their school preparation classes, or the parents are called in to create them with their kids. You can even find whole kits at arts and crafts stores, to make the cones with your child's favorite cartoon characters or buy the already made ones.

The Schultüte today, is no longer filled with sweets, but also stuffed with school supplies or little gifts. The kids get to carry them to School and keep them next to their desks until it's time to head home. Often the schools have photographers there too to take pictures of your child with its new school bag and Schultüte. When the first school day is over, and the children get home, it's time to unpack the Schultüte and check out all the goodies that it contains.

The first ever homework, traditionally is to draw a picture of your Schultüte or what was in it.

If your child did not have a photographer at the school on the first day, don't be surprised if the teacher asks to bring in the Schultüte a couple days later, for a photo shoot.

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