Germany’s 16 states have their own distinct identity. Each one has a unique flavour, evident in the local traditions, festivals and attire. What’s Up, Germany? brings you snapshots of the sheer diversity that can be seen and enjoyed—from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Bavarian Alps in the south.
A must on any tourist’s itinerary, Oktoberfest is a beer lover’s dream come true. Held in Munich in September (not in October, unlike what the name suggests!), this festival attracts over six million tourists from all over the world every year! During this 16-day revelry, locals dressed in traditional clothes gather in huge tents, ravenous for beer and sausages! This Bacchanalian celebration started in October 1810 at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese.
The legend of the egg-bearing Easter bunny originated in Germany. Easter Sunday usually begins with a breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, before the children scamper off to look for eggs hidden by the Easter bunny (or so they think!). In the evening, families usually feast on roasted lamb. Huge Easter bonfires are also lit to welcome spring.
One of the most celebrated events in Germany is the carnival. Huge parades with floats hit the streets, as does everyone! It’s a time of wild celebrations, especially in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz. If you happen to be visiting during carnival season, it’ll be an unforgettable experience!
This annual Bavarian tradition of escorting a procession of cows down into the valley usually takes place in September and is a sight to behold. The cows are elaborately decorated with big bells, and there is much song and dance. Booths selling agricultural and artisans’ products are put up, so you might want to keep your purse and camera handy!
This festival is a big deal in Germany (even the Christmas tree or Tannenbaum originated there). The season kicks off in early December. On St Nicholas’ Eve or Nikolaustag, children hang their shoes outside the front door in the hope that the saint will leave treats for them, and not twigs, which are reserved for naughty children! Festivities continue, with charming Christmas markets that look like they’ve been copy-pasted from a fairy tale!