Birthdays are special occasions that are celebrated across the world, and different countries have unique traditions and rules. German birthday celebrations are pretty fun! In Germany, birthdays are a big deal, and there are some specific customs and practices that you need to know to make the celebration memorable. If you’re planning to celebrate your birthday in Germany or are curious about how Germans celebrate their special day, then this blog post is for you. Let’s take a look at the 7 birthday rules that you need to follow in Germany to ensure a successful and fun day!
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How to Celebrate a German Birthday According to the 7 Rules
On their birthday, Germans have a few traditions and experiences that are unique to their culture. Here are seven things Germans do or experience on their special day:
1. Receive a birthday crown: Children in Germany often receive a birthday crown, which is typically made of paper and decorated with colorful symbols and designs. The crown is worn throughout the day and serves as a reminder that it’s their special day.
2. Eat a special cake: Germans love their cakes, and birthdays are no exception. The most popular birthday cake in Germany is a chocolate cake called “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte,” also known as Black Forest cake. Be prepared, in Germany, you are expected to buy or make your own cake to share with everyone.
3. Receive birthday wishes: Friends and family gather to wish the birthday person a happy birthday and offer gifts. The German phrase for “Happy Birthday” is “Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag”, but be sure to never wish someone an early birthday as it is considered bad luck.
4. Celebrate with a party: Birthday parties in Germany often involve traditional games, such as “Topfschlagen,” where blindfolded players try to hit a pot with a stick while being guided by others. To be fair: This is more of a kid’s game but it sure would be fun to see adults playing this at a party as well!
Be prepared as an adult, to plan and pay for your own party! This is the way in Germany, but don’t worry, you will still receive plenty of birthday love through flowers, wine, and birthday gifts.
5. Light candles: Germans typically light candles on their birthday cake, with one candle for each year of age. The candles are blown out in one breath, and it’s believed that if the person can blow out all the candles in one attempt, their wish will come true.
6. Receive flowers: It’s common for Germans to receive flowers on their birthday. No matter if they are roses or a bouquet of their favorite blooms, Germans are happy about all kinds of flowers. And it can’t hurt to bring a bottle of wine either.
7. Take the day off: Germans are known for valuing work-life balance, and on their birthday, they may take the day off to spend time with loved ones, relax, or pursue their hobbies. It’s seen as a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Many employers give birthdays off on top of the already agreed vacation days.
Children are given the day off from chores and even given a no homework day from their teacher if their birthday falls on a schoolday!
The History of German Birthday Traditions
German birthday traditions have a long and rich history. The practice of celebrating birthdays is said to have originated in ancient Rome, where people would celebrate the birth of their loved ones with feasts and gifts. In Germany, the tradition of celebrating birthdays was popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it became common for families to gather together and enjoy a special meal or cake on the birthday person’s special day.
Today, some of the most popular birthday traditions in Germany include blowing out candles on a birthday cake, receiving gifts, and singing the German version of the “Happy Birthday” song— “Wie schön, dass du geboren bist”.
German birthday traditions are truly one-of-a-kind and serve as a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage. Celebrating life’s milestones with loved ones is a momentous occasion, and Germans ensure it lives up to that.