German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

November's Volkstrauertag in Germany commemorates all who died, were left to mourn, or are victims of violence brought about by combat or oppression. Military, civilian, of all nationalities. From Europe's old battlefields to the armed conflicts and struggles in our present-day world.

Francine A. McKenna

It had taken 600 years, but in August 1880 Cologne Cathedral was complete at last. When construction began the city was part of the Holy Roman Empire, it finished in a newly United Germany with Wilhelm I its first Emperor. A stunning building it is one of the country's most important monuments.

Francine A. McKenna

Beer has its own day "Tag des Deutschen Bieres", in Bavaria it is "flüssiges Brot/liquid bread", a food, and it's important not to forget to raise one thumb when ordering. Fun facts you probably don't know about German beer.

Francine A. McKenna

Chopped pancakes with fruit for Breakfast, Lunch or Dessert, at Oktoberfest or in a bar. It might not be what Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria's chef had in mind when he invented Kaiserschmarrn, "Emperor's Mess", but a century later it is a favorite throughout Bavaria and Austria.

Francine A. McKenna

It is said German castles have real Ghosts, and Witches, Forest Goddesses of pagan times, have never really gone away, but the centuries old All Saints and All Souls Day traditions are as much a part of the season's culture as ever. Despite recently introduced Halloween with its plastic skeletons.

Francine A. McKenna

Is a Weckmann the same as a Stutenkerl or Nikolaus? Yes the same "Bread Man" but a different name, and in German speaking countries no November St. Martin's Day, or December St. Nicholas, is complete without the traditional sweet yeast dough holiday specialty. Here is its story and a recipe.

Francine A. McKenna

Candle lit lantern processions, Martinstag, and the Legend of St. Martin. Germany's children bring light and music to a November 11 in Germany, St. Martin's Day. Singing, "Weckmann" enjoyed by an open fire, church services in his honor, and Martinsgans for supper. But who was St. Martin?

Francine A. McKenna

They disappear in the fall, re-appear with spring and spend summer protecting Germany's gardens. Garden gnomes are as much a part of Germany as Bratwurst and Fussball/soccer. Kitsch, folklore, good luck symbols, and for a protector about as far from frightening as it is possible to be.

Francine A. McKenna

Waldkindergärten, nature's preschool for children, where fresh air, the natural world and exploration, replace classroom walls whatever the weather. Favorites with children and parents, waiting lists are long for this 19th century system from the man who invented the Kindergarten.