Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in human history, the roots of which are buried deep in the traditional Gaelic Festival of Samhain. Originally Halloween was more of a Fall Harvest celebration, as the year of the Celts ended on October 31st . The summer was over, and the harvest was brought in, and this alone was a reason to celebrate.
Germans love doing arts and crafts, especially during times of transition, like in the spring or fall. Families will often flock to the forests and fields on nice, sunny fall days, in order to gather supplies and ideas for their projects. Then on the gloomier, rainy days, they‘ll spend time at home with the kids doing crafts and realizing their envisioned projects. You might be surprised that there is such a huge interest in arts and crafts here in Germany, as there aren‘t any big arts and crafts supply superstores like the kind you see back in the States. However, they aren‘t really needed, as most of the big department stores here have a crafting section that will sell you all the basics. There are also online craft stores that can get you anything else that you might need...not to mention the fact that Germany is full of natural crafting resources. So why not put on some warm fall clothes, and some sturdy rubber boots, and give the German way of crafting a try? There are so many treasures that can be found in your local area alone. Go out and explore the woods, the fields, and the parks and see what you can find—plus its a great family activity your kids are sure to love! Be on the lookout for shiny chestnuts, acorns, beechnuts, interesting twigs and branches, moss, rose-hips, pine-cones and pretty colorful leaves and get to crafting!
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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….
Spring is right around the corner, and Germany is getting ready for Easter.
While traditionally a religious holiday, Easter is one of the most popular holidays for churchgoers and non-religious affiliated Germans alike. Since Christian and pagan rituals are now so intertwined it only makes sense for everyone to take part in the celebrations, besides who does not like a couple extra days off.
Easter markets are a popular thing and pop up on almost every weekend luring eager shoppers to the city center. Most of the public gardens and parks open up right around the beginning of spring also and will enchant with beautiful flowers and walks during the first warmer days.
I'm sure you've all heard of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Venice, and well, Fasching is Germany's Mardi Gras or Carnival. It officially began on 11.11.11 – meaning, the 11th of November (the 11th Month) at 11:11 AM, 2016, and it will end at the stroke of midnight on Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday) aka February 28th 2017. It, like many other holidays, festivities, and traditions, is based in religion as a celebration before lent and it has its roots in Catholicism and Christianity. However, it is now celebrated in many regions of Germany and by all walks of life. It has become a tradition in Germany that no longer centers around religion. Anyone who attends a Fasching party or parade will tell you that it certainly doesn't feel like it's centered around the church. It's a colorful celebration of life, with costumes, parties, drinks, dancing, music, comedy, candy and more.
Most towns and major cities in Germany celebrate Fasching, with the same kind of enthusiasm that we reserve for Halloween in the United States—but the traditions and history behind Fasching vary from region to region. In some areas people dress up in scary costumes and they try to “scare off the winter,” and in other regions you are meant to dress silly, not scary, but no matter where you go, you're sure to find a wonderful celebration. As you may have noticed, Fasching celebrations are a little slow to start, mostly since the focus in November and December is on Christmas, however, things really start to pick up at the end of January and the beginning of February, and soon you'll see various costumes for sale. Even if you don't plan on partaking in the festivities, now might be a good time to grab a fun Halloween costume for October.