Traditions, Values and Young People

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Calendar of Festivals in Germany

fireworks
© Martin Schneider / PIXELIO, www.pixelio.de

Silvester/New Year's Day
public holiday
31Dec/1 Jan
Most people celebrate New Year's Eve with their friends. Lead is heated and poured into cold water to predict the future. At midnight, people drink champagne and wish each other a "Happy New Year". This is followed by fireworks.

carnival float
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wagen-rosenmontag-2006.jpg. Copyright: see that page.

Carnival
(7 weeks before Easter)
A parade with people in fancy dress goes through the town. Often floats are part of it. The people in the parade throw sweets or other small presents into the crowds of spectators. Carnival is most popular in Cologne.
St Valentine's Day
14 Feb
Valentine's Day is regarded as a day of love. Many younger people (though not the older generation) celebrate this day with their partners and give chocolates or flowers as gifts.

basket with Easter eggs
Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/Eastereggs_ostereier.jpg. Copyright: see that page.

Easter
(Sunday after the first full moon in spring)
Eggs are died or painted, then hidden by the parents so that the children must look for them.
Ascension/Father's Day
public holiday
(40 days after Easter)
Fathers go for a hike, pulling a small cart with lots of beer
Mother's Day
May
Children give their mother a small present.
Halloween
31 Oct
Children and teenagers dress up, go round the neighbourhood and collect sweets.

lights in churchyard
© Detlev Beutler / PIXELIO, www.pixelio.de

All Saints' Day
public holiday
1 Nov
In the evening the graves on the graveyards are visited and lights are lit there. (The following day is All Souls' Day.)

advent wreath

the 4 Sundays before Christmas The candles on the Advent wreath are lit.

Nikolaus
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bavarian_Nikolaus.JPG. Copyright: see that page.

Nikolaus/St Nicholas
6 Dec
Children put boots out in front of the door and later find sweets, nuts and usually a small present in them.
Christmas Eve
24 Dec
The generations of a family come together. First people go to church, then they eat together. But the highlight of the evening is the opening of the presents.