German Christmas Celebrations

German Christmas Celebrations and Traditions

German Christmas Celebrations for all to enjoy!

German Christmas celebrations start with the first of Advent (the fourth Sunday before Christmas) and ends on December 26th, which is the second Holiday of Christmas. In between, are different traditional celebrations and activities with deeper meanings beyond shopping sprees and gift giving. It is called “Vorweihnachtszeit” which means “The Pre-Season.” The first cookies are served prepared with my mother’s Traditional German Christmas Cookies Recipes, while listening or singing to the Traditional German Christmas Carols.

German Christmas Celebrations Table Decorations

Highlight of the German Christmas Celebrations

The highlight is Christmas Eve on December 24th, when the “Christkind” comes and brings the presents. The Christkind is a sprite-like angel of sorts, and as children we always were told that we can not see it—and shouldn’t even try—otherwise this special gift-giver wouldn’t bring presents. I pictured the Christkind always as a curly blond-haired figure with wings and a simple white dress with gold borders. In my mind, I could imagine seeing it fly past the window with all the presents in hand. I’m sure I wasn’t the only child with this magical image in my head.

The Christmas tree, which was decorated by my parents on Christmas Eve, was always a big surprise. The tree was set up in the “good stubb” (or front room) and under no circumstance were we allowed to take a peek behind those closed doors. The unveiling was pure magic. Upon entering, the only light in this festive room was from the lit wax candles on the tree. I remember there was a bell hanging on a branch that played Silent Night. Aside from all the presents under the tree, it was clear Christkind had been there. You could just feel it. To me the Christmas Tree always has been the most important part of the German Christmas traditions.

German Christmas Celebrations - Christmas Decoration

While the children unwrapped presents, my mother prepared the food—always potato salad, some sausages, and bread—a tradition I still keep today. Later on, the Christmas feast consisted of roasted Goose, some red cabbage, and dumplings. I never really liked eating goose, but I did enjoy the goose fat. When the drippings hardened, I would spread it on bread seasoned with salt and pepper.

I hope you have as many wonderful memories of Christmas as I did. _Oma

It’s beginning to look a lot like Weihnachten.

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Countdown To Christmas:

The German Christmas Traditions start with the Advent Calendar and Advent Wreath.

Advents Wreath German Christmas Celebrations

December is a month when I needed to do some concentrated planning to keep up with all the German Christmas celebrations.The advent calendar would countdown the days to Christmas—and the advent wreath would countdown the weeks. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, a candle would be lit. Each Sunday thereafter, one more candle would be lit until all four were illuminated. Both the calendar and the wreath were special treats for my kids.

Create your own holiday tradition. Here’s how to build an advent calendar out of empty matchboxes. Your children will love it! Click here for instructions.

Branch Out on St. Barbara’s Day (December 4th)

Barbarazweig—Barbara’s Branch is also part of the German Christmas Celebrations.

German Christmas Celebrations Barbara Branches

Here’s one more of the great German Christmas traditions. On the 4th of December, the feast day of St. Barbara, I cut branches from my cherry tree and put them in water so that they bloom on the 25th of December. I always place tags on the various branches with the names of all the members of the family. The name of the person attached to the first blooming twig will have luck in the following year.

NOTE: If you can’t get a cherry branches, try substituting the shoots of some other blossoming tree or plant. Try: apple, plum, lilac, or forsythia and celebrate Barbarazweig in your own special way.

So who was this Saint Barbara? Legend has it, she was young lady who lived around 300 A.D. in Asia Minor (which is today known as Turkey). Barbara was held in a tower by her pagan father to secure her innocence while he was away. While imprisoned, she converted to Christianity. Not willing to give up her new faith, her father planned her execution. While waiting for her demise, Barbara watered the twig from a cherry branch that grew outside her cell window. She watered it every day. Twenty one days after poor Babara’s beheading, the twig started to bloom. As for her horrible father, well, he was struck dead by lightning immediately after the execution. No wonder some believers pray to St. Barbara during a thunderstorm.

Old Saint Nick? Not quite. It’s December 6th. Time for Nikolaus!

German Christmas Celebrations St. Nikolaus

Sankt Nikolaus – der heilige Nikolaus

Get ready for one of the German Christmas celebrations with Nikolaus. On the 6th of December, Nikolaustag,  Nikolaus is coming. And German children couldn’t be more excited.

Nikolaus is accompanied by his helper, Knecht Ruprecht. Nikolaus is dressed in red and his sidekick wears brown. Don’t confuse Nikolaus with the other guy in red. Santa and him are two different people with two different stories.

Now, back to the kids. In the evening of the 5th, the children leave their freshly cleaned boots outside the front door. The next morning, amazingly, their boots will be filled with chocolate, goodies, oranges, mandarins, and nuts. Sometimes, Nikolaus will even pay a visit to the families and read out of his big black book.

German Christmas Celebrations Boots

Throughout Europe, and even in various regions in Germany, there are many Saint Nicks, Sankt Nikolaus or der heilige Nikolaus, which one are you familiar with and what are those traditions? I’d love to know and share those stories.

German Gingerbread the real one. A gift that’s always in good taste.

The original gingerbread also adds to the German Christmas traditions. Even though my children and grandchildren are far away, I still keep the Nikolaus tradition alive and well. Each year, I send a Nikolaus bag filled with goodies for the little ones. And for the bigger ones, I order from a variety of authentic gingerbreads from Germany. Sure, it’s not the same as filling up boots but as they say, it’s the spirit that counts! These gingerbreads are beautifully presented in a historical-themed tin box—making a great gift for family and friends.

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Merry Christmas to you and yours. Blessings, Oma

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Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Traditional German Christmas Cookies Recipes

Traditional German Christmas Cookies

The Traditional German Christmas Cookies are offering a large selection of recipes, and all with quite a story. Some cookies are easier to prepare than others. Butter, eggs, flour, sugar, spices, and a variety of nuts are basic ingredients. The baking goods have a few things in common which are the delicious taste, the typical smell in the kitchen pointing towards Christmas, and the creation of memories with children and grandchildren.

Linzer Cookies – Fruit Filled Butter Cookies

German Butter Cookies   

German Butter Cookies

German Butter Cookies

When to start baking the Cookies:

The holiday baking season begins before the First of Advent so that these tasty treats will be ready for consumption on that most anticipated day. The ladies of the house will carefully ration, hide, and monitor the cookies in tin boxes—making sure they last until Christmas. Each week, one new kind of traditional German Christmas cookies is added to the mix. The last enticing offering is called the “Kalte Pracht,” which means “Cold Splendor.” Between light, thin wafers is an irresistible chocolate-, rum-, and coconut-butter spread. I always had to make it the day before Christmas Eve, or else they would never have lasted.

German Spritz Cookies

German Spritz Cookies   

German Hazelnut Macaroon Recipe

German Hazelnut Macaroon Recipe

Original Macaroons Recipe

Baking with Children the Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Children are always a big part of the baking process of Traditional German Christmas Cookies. After all, they need to learn the recipes and skills to pass them along to their children. Just as important is knowing, when to make the cookies. Look outside. When the cold winter days get shorter, and the reddish sunset sky paints the perfect holiday backdrop, it is time for Christkind to bake the cookies.

Original German Gingerbread Recipe

Original German Gingerbread Recipe

German Gingerbread Elisenlebkuchen

German Gingerbread Elisenlebkuchen

German Spekulatius Cookie Recipe

German Spekulatius Cookie Recipe

German Marzipan Cookies Bethmaennchen

German Marzipan Cookies Bethmaennchen

German Marzipan Potatoes Recipe

German Marzipan Potatoes Recipe

Traditional German Springerle Recipe

Traditional German Springerle Recipe

German Pfeffernuesse Cookies

German Pfeffernuesse Cookies

My children also started to help baking the Christmas cookies at a young age. Since I always made the cookies from scratch—which entails grinding the nuts, shaping the decorations, and using only fresh ingredients—there was a lot to do. My oldest son had the responsibility of peeling, drying, and grinding the almonds. My older daughter was in charge of helping me to shape the cookies while my younger daughter helped to make the icing and sugar flowers. The youngest one made himself responsible for taste-testing the dough. One thing is for sure, my children and grandchildren never want to miss the cookies. My grandson just told me, “Oma, you need to hide them.” Translation: He is coming back and wants to eat some more. His sister agreed.

German Lemon Heart Cookies

German Lemon Heart Cookies

Vanilla Horn Cookies

Vanilla Horn Cookies

German Cinnamon Star Cookies

German Cinnamon Star Cookies

How I took over the baking power:

I was always my mother’s assistant when it came to baking Authentic German Christmas Cookies, until one year when I was 14, I had to take over. My mother was ill, and the thought of no cookies on Christmas made everyone else feel sick, too. So, nervously, I accepted the challenge. I mean, helping was one thing but doing it all on my own was another. The cookies, however, turned out so well that I happily inherited the responsibility year after year. The immediate and extended family members approved to the transition of the cookie power. They always enjoyed their fair share of cookies. Every Christmas season, I would try a new recipe. The ones I mastered made it to my binder. Throughout the years, I have collected many recipes. Now I could not be more pleased to share the recipes of German Christmas Cookies with you and your family.

Traditional German Thumbprint Christmas Cookies

Traditional German Thumbprint Christmas Cookies

German Anise Christmas Cookies

German Anise Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Traditional German Oatmeal Cookies

Traditional German Oatmeal Cookies

Merry Christmas

I hope you get to try some of these delicious Traditional German Christmas Cookies with your family. And if you have children, put some Christmas music on and get them involved. It will be a great memory for them. And for you, as well. Please share your stories. And I will keep sharing my recipes!

German Recipe Kalter Hund – Heinerle

German Recipe Kalter Hund - Heinerle

Orange Liqueur Cookies

Orange Liqueur Cookies

Homemade German Rum Balls

Homemade German Rum Balls

Cognac Cookies Recipe

Cognac Cookies Recipe

German Nut Corners Recipe

German Nut Corners Recipe

Chocolate Dipped Almond Horns Recipe

Chocolate Dipped Almond Horns Recipe

It’s the Christmas baking season. Cookies, anyone?

Happiest of holidays! _Oma

Traditional German Christmas Cookies Recipes

New Year's Eve

These New Year’s Eve Recipes

New Year’s Eve, recipes, prophecies, and celebrations are a total blast.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated differently the world over. While New York City is counting down in Time Square and watching the ball drop, the people of Germany are filling the streets and setting off fireworks to the sound of the local church bells. This takes place at midnight in every village, town, and big city throughout the country. The clanging bells and booming rockets are a great way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new. Not to mention, the lights and noises are very effective in chasing away all the bad spirits!


New Year’s Eve in Germany is called Silvester and is always accompanied with good food and drink throughout the long night. (See recipes below.) While some are partying in the streets, others might be celebrating quietly at home—playing games and watching “Dinner for One” on TV. This English sketch comedy show has become a New Year’s tradition since the early seventies. Have a look.


For many years, I’ve missed the thrill and excitement of watching fireworks in late December. One year, a few days after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, I heard a surprising “BOOM!” in my backyard. When I opened the door to the deck, I saw a firework display in our garden. Sparkles of light shot in all directions and the stars from the rockets shined over our house.I was confused and delighted—all at the same time. It was my teenage son, with the help of a kind neighbor, who set up the choreographed light show for my birthday. What great memory! It made up for all the years that I missed the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. And to this day, I still consider it the most beautiful fireworks display I have ever seen.

Einen Guten Rutsch und Prosit Neujahr.

Happy New Year and best wishes to all. _Oma

Let’s eat!

Scroll down to find the recipes

Whether you’re throwing a big party or attending a small gathering, the right dish for the occasion can make all the difference. This New Year’s Eve try one of these great recipes: Shrimp Dip, Marinated Herring, Midnight Soup, Gentlemen’s Layer Cake, and Jam-Filled Sweet Rolls. Click and enjoy!

Shrimp Dip

Shrimp Dip for New Years Eve

Marinated Herring

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Midnight Soup

Midnight Soup 6 (1)

Jam-Filled Sweet Rolls

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Gentlemen’s Layer Cake


Lentil Soup


German Sauerkraut Recipe

German Sauerkraut Recipe

Let’s drink! It’s New Year’s Eve!

Fire Tongs Punch (Krambambula) – Feuerzangenbowle (Krambambuli)

Traditional New Years Eve punch

No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without Fire Tongs Punch. The popularity of this warm, sweet wine punch skyrocketed after the release of its namesake, the 1944 German film Die Feuerzangenbowle. Both are cult classics and a must have on New Year’s Eve. 

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Apple Punch

Apple Punch for New Years Eve


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Master of Hunters – Jägermeister

Jägermeister used to be a job title: Master of Hunters. Today, it is better known as an herbal liqueur. Jägermeister was regarded more as a drink for older people—which was used to help digest after a heavy meal. Around 2004, the green bottle was rediscovered by younger adults and became hip in certain circles. It is best served ice cold—which means it needs to be chilled right around the freezing point. Look for the head of a buck on the label (that’s how you know you have a real bottle) and present your Jaegermeister to your New Year’s guests in tubes on a special rack. C’mon, how hip is that? Cheers!

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Feeling lucky?

Click the links to find out more

This new year, good fortune is sure to pour your way. Discover “Bleigiessen,” a fun German tradition of pouring melted lead into cold water to predict the future. Oh, and do have a Gluecksbringer? Not sure? Well, you’re in luck. There are plenty here. You’ll be charmed, I’m sure. _Oma

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Celebrate New Years Eve

(Picture taken by Thomas Dornfeld)

Einen Guten Rutsch und Prosit Neujahr. _Oma





Currywurst Sauce Recipe

Currywurst Sauce Recipe

Currywurst Sauce Recipe – It’s German

The Currywurst Sauce Recipe is a German Recipe served cold over fried or grilled bratwurst cut into bite-size pieces with sprinkles of curry on top. I also like the sauce over boiled Knockwurst.

Ingredients for the Currywurst Sauce Recipe:

  • 2 large yellow onions peeled and diced (500 g – 1.1 lbs)
  • 800 g (1.76 lbs) of canned whole peeled tomatoes (a large can has 794 g – 1lbs 12 oz)
  • 150 ml (5.07 oz) of white cooking wine OR water 75 ml – 2.5 oz mixed with 2 tablespoons of apple vinegar and apple juice
  • 100 ml (3.38 oz) of orange juice OR pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste OR 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar, brown
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika, sweet
  • 2 tablespoons of curry, optional mild or hot Madras curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, optional
  • ½ teaspoon of cloves, ground
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation of the sauce

Peel the onions and cut them into small dices. Heat the oil in a skillet pan and fry the onion dice until they are transparent. Next, sprinkle the sugar over the onions and caramelize them. While stirring, add the tomato paste and cloves until the ingredients are mixed. Finally, pour the wine/grape juice, tomatoes, and orange/pineapple juice over the onions before adding paprika, curry, cayenne pepper, and salt.

Preparation of onions for curry sauce   caramelizing onions   Adding spices to the currywurst sauce

Turn the heat down and let the sauce uncovered simmer for 25-30 minutes or until it thickens. Then, puree the sauce in a blender or immersion blender. Spice it to your taste. Let the sauce cool and refrigerate for a day before using it to allow the flavors to meld.

Cooking of the Currywurst Sauce Recipe   Blending ingredients   Finishing Currywurst Sauce Recipe

The currywurst is served with French fries or a roll.

Currywurst with Knockwurst



Traditional German Sunday

German Traditional Sunday!

German Traditional Sunday – Great Food and a greater sense of community

As I look back at my life, growing up in a small town in Germany, I’m reminded how important the German traditional Sunday was in bringing the community and families together. The atmosphere; that special feeling of warmth, joy, and togetherness; was only outdone by the magic of the Christmas and Easter holidays. Nevertheless, this “day of rest” was always a time cherished by every member of the family—and the traditional Sunday meal was a big reason why. (See my traditional Sunday menu recipes below.) Preparations for the gathering started on Saturday, and everyone had responsibilities, including the children. And the reward—from the brisket and dumplings to the cakes and puddings—couldn’t be more delicious.

Sunday Meal

Preparation of German Traditional Sunday

On Saturdays, my mother would wake up early to run errands—visiting the local butcher, bakery, and grocery store. As a young child, I always liked to join her because the butcher would give me a free sample bologna. But we had to hurry, all the stores closed at 1 pm for the rest of the weekend until Monday. And soon, my older brothers would be returning from school. That’s right, we had school on Saturdays. Luckily, kindergarteners, like myself, were spared.

Back home, mother would start cleaning the house and preparing the soup and the vegetables. She would also make two cakes for Sunday afternoon, one simple one and one that was more of a pastry. While all this was going on, my siblings and I helped with the chores and we each shared different responsibilities. It was serious work, but we knew if we did a good job, we would soon be playing outside with our friends. I loved to shoot marbles. And I was good at it, often beating the older boys in the neighborhood. The other kids would walk on stilts or buckets. Some girls played the Chinese rope or hopscotch. Many children would also gather rocks of varying colors to draw and decorate the sidewalks and streets. It was a fun time for sure.


Preparation on Saturday for the German Traditional Sunday

Saturday’s final task was sweeping the streets. It was a chance to chat with the neighbors during this communal activity. However, when the church bells rang (at 5:00 pm in the winter and at 6:00 pm in summer) all the children knew it was time to go home—but not before picking up the milk from the farmer who lived three houses down the road. When we arrived home, the water for the bath was heated up in a large kettle over a wood fire. (This kettle was also used to wash the laundry and to cook the sausages after butchering once a year.)

[Pictured on the right, a photo of my grandmother (in the center) picking up her milk.]

After bathtime was dinnertime. The meal consisted of fresh bread, an assortment of cheeses, homemade pickles, fresh-picked vegetables from the garden, the ham my father painstakingly smoked, and homemade sausages (which were preserved in jars or cans from the last butchering). I didn’t care much for the sausages, but loved the fat (Schmalz) that formed on the top. When dinner was finished, it was time for bed. Bedtimes, of course, depended on our ages. Out of seven kids, I was the third youngest.

Morning of the German traditional Sunday

A German traditional Sunday morning began with breakfast—and the first slices of mother’s cake were served. Soon, we would have to get ready for church or Sunday school. My mother would give us a choice between the two. (My brothers and I usually picked Sunday school because we could do arts & crafts. On nice days, we even played outside.)

[A picture of two of my brothers and I at Sunday School.]

Routine German Traditional Sunday

Afterwards, we would come home and the table was already set and lunch was prepared. Out of respect, and because he was the main breadwinner, my father was served first. After lunch, we would help my mother hand-wash the dishes. My father would take a little nap on the chaise lounge that sat in the kitchen. Later,  we either go for a walk or entertain visiting relatives. I wouldn’t want to miss those times because, in addition to the coffee that was served, there was mother’s pastry. So good.

These German traditional Sunday experiences are truly memorable. It was a time when children could feel safe but also independent. The whole village would come together—sharing in responsibilities and looking out for one another. It was a community in every sense of the word. Even as children, we understood our part in helping out around the house and in the neighborhood.

Today, as a grandmother of five, I do my best to uphold the traditions and support the values that keep us all connected. It starts with the meal. So, without further ado, let’s eat!

Yours, Oma

Scroll down to click on the recipes for a traditional Sunday meal

German Traditional Sunday Food

Bone Marrow Soup (Markklöβchensuppe)

German Beef Soup Recipe

Bone Marrow Dumplings (Markklöβchen)

Savoy Cabbage (Wirsing)

German Savoy Cabbage

Brisket with Horseradish Sauce (Suppenfleisch mit Meerrettichsoβe)

Horseradish Sauce

Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Sauce (Schokoladenpudding mit Vanillesoβe)

Easy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Apple Cake on a Sheet (Apfelkuchen auf dem Blech)

German Cheese Cake (Käsekuchen)

Traditional German Cheesecake

You’re all set for one of the typical German traditional Sunday lunch menus. Thanks to one of my grandsons who volunteered to be the taste tester. 

Traditional German Sunday



Octoberfest Party Guide

Oktoberfest Party Guide. The ultimate guide to hosting a real Oktoberfest party in your backyard.

Oktoberfest Party Guide

Think Oktoberfest is all about beer? Think again. Just as important as those amazing Bavarian lagers are the authentic Oktoberfest dishes that make every Oktoberfest party so special. With good food and good drinks, come good times. And you will find everything you need to host a successful Oktoberfest beer garden festival in this quick Oktoberfest Party Guide! The best traditional recipes. The top-ten beers. And the greatest Oktoberfest playlist ever. It’s all here in this Oktoberfest  party guide. So, let’s get the party started!

Please scroll down to find all recipes, drinks and music

Oktoberfest Party Guide Decoration

Where it started

What started in Munich in the year of 1810, has spread across the world and is more popular today than ever. Traditionally, Oktoberfest starts in September and last until the beginning of October. The most famous Oktoberfest festival is in Munich at the Wiesn. Let’s recreate the magic of this fun-filled German beer fest celebration in a way that would make King Ludwig l proud.

Welcome your guests by decorating your home in blue and white—the traditional colors of the state of Bavaria. You can theme your surroundings with these Oktoberfest party suppliesincluding banners, table cloth, cups, napkins, and more. Keep your fine china in the cabinets and use simple and rustic seating and place settings. If the weather is accommodating, host your private beer festival outside in the garden. Maybe rent a tent for the backyard. Look for a picnic area, perhaps. Or, take it to the streets and get the whole neighborhood together for an Oktoberfest block party.

Most importantly, keep the Oktoberfest beer cold and music going. And don’t forget to launch the opening of your party with the official “O zapft is” cry—which refers to tapping of the first beer keg.

I wish you a wonderful Oktoberfest party with family and friends. And as always, let me know how it goes!




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Emmenthaler with Salt and Pepper

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Obatzda (spiced chess-butter-spread)

Obatzda Cheese Butter Spread


Typical Oktoberfest recipes that brings everyone to the table. So good. So flavorful. So German!

Pork Roast with Gravy

German Pork Roast Recipe


Bratwurst for Oktoberfest Party Guide


Frikadellen – German Meatball Patties



There’s plenty of room on that plate. Complement your main dish with some of these old fashioned homemade side dishes.

Soft Pretzel

Homemade Pretzels

Mashed Potatoes

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German Coleslaw Recipe

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad


It’s not the end of the party – just the end of the course. A variety of apple cakes to choose from. Change the plate, go back to the table and load it up with one of the apple desserts to give your meal a satisfying finish.

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Simple Apple Cake for Oktoberfest Party Guide

Sunken Apple Cake

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Apple Streusel Cake

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You don’t have to travel all the way to Munich to find a brewery that pairs well with your Oktoberfest celebration.

Here are Oma’s Top 10 Oktoberfest Beers

10 Best Oktoberfest Beers

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No Oktoberfest Party is complete without the perfect soundtrack. From traditional to modern, folk to country, this 35-track German Oktoberfest playlist will get swaying and raising the glasses. Best of all, each track is linked to listen in. If you like it, you can download. Let’s celebrate! Just hit play.

35 Favorite Oktoberfest Songs

German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions – getting married in Germany and how to celebrate

German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions and how to celebrate in three steps. It starts with the Polterabend followed by the legal ceremony at the city hall, Standesamt. The church wedding is the final celebration and highlight. The sequence of the festivities are flexible, and the traditions vary depending on regions.

German Traditions – The Polterabend

The Polterabend is the evening before the City Hall Wedding, to give friends, colleagues from work, and acquaintances a chance to celebrate with the bride and groom and their families. Usually, there is no invitation, and the size of the party depends on how well the couple is known or involved in the community life. The guests arrive with porcelain dishes, plates and sometimes with even larger parts like porcelain sinks and smash them to bring luck. The Bride and groom have to clean up the broken pieces, to demonstrate, that they can work together.

German Wedding Traditions

The evening of the Polterabend is filled with entertainment such as; speeches, songs, and sketches performed by friends while eating simple food and mostly drinking beer.

Traditional German Wedding Polterabend

German Wedding Traditions – City Hall – Standesamt

The City Hall Wedding makes the marriage legal, whereas the church wedding is optional. Registering at the office was done already weeks ahead and includes picking the date and the choice of the last name. Only the witnesses to the wedding, closest family members, and sometimes close friends are present during this official part.

City Hall German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions – Church Ceremony

The Church Wedding is open to everyone. At the Church Wedding, the bride wears a white dress and either a veil or some hair decoration. I used to have a wreath of myrtle since this was a tradition over generations in my family. I bought my shoes with pennies, which I collected over the years in an oversized cognac bottle, another wedding tradition. The groom wears a suit or tuxedo. The wedding bands are simple identical rings without diamonds. They are worn on the left hand after the engagement and changed to the right side during the church ceremony. The groom has to pay for the bride’s flowers and the flowers that decorate the hood of the car. It is an honor to drive the bride and groom. I picked the husband of my godmother whom I always wanted to marry as a child.

How the church service will take place is discussed ahead with the priest. The bride and groom pick the songs, music and a quotation (Trauspruch) from the Bible they want to have as their motto for their marriage. The bride and groom enter the church together after family, friends, and guests are seated.

Church Ceremony German Wedding Traditions

After the Church Service

After the vows and the exchanging of the rings, the newlyweds follow the priest leaving the church. Sometimes spectators are waiting outside to welcome the new husband and wife while throwing rice at them. The couple needs to pass a formed honor guard before they can receive the best wishes and congratulations from the guests who attended the church service.

The cars of the wedding party are decorated with a white ribbon on the side or front and will drive in a procession to the reception while honking the horn. The wedding car usually has empty cans bound together with a cord attached to the back of the vehicle.

Reception of a German Wedding

The reception starts with an opening speech and followed by the first waltz danced by the bride and groom.

Reception German Wedding Traditions

After cutting the wedding cake, entertainment with music, games, and tricks will continue. The most of the cakes are prepared by family members and friends like a Mocha Buttercream Cake, Frankfurter Kranz Cake, Traditional Black Forest Cake, and Sunny Side Up Cake, to mention a few. At one point the bride will be kidnapped by friends of the groom and hidden in one of the many restaurants in the town. The groom has to search for the bride and only then can he get her back after paying for the drinks everybody in the restaurant consumed. Sometimes he also needs to pay for a box of beer or wine to buy his wife free. Back at the wedding celebration, more challenges are waiting for them.

One of the traditions could be drinking from one cup (wedding or bridal cup) at the same time without spilling the drink.

Traditional German Wedding - Wedding Cup

Tricks on the newlyweds

The bride and groom can expect some more surprises at their home after the party. There might be plastic cups filled with water on stairs or the entrance area. The bedroom could be filled with balloons, or the bed could have been taken apart. Finding their car could be difficult because friends might have lifted it and carried it away to a different place and wrapped it in toilet paper.

Those and many more ideas are part of the German Wedding Traditions. Setups of situations during the celebration to force the bride and groom to solve their problems together while working hand in hand.

Traditional German Wedding Tricks on Bride and Groom



St. Martin's Day Tradition

Shining a light on the meaning of St. Martin’s Day Tradition in Germany with lanterns and more!

St. Martin’s Day Tradition!

St. Martin of Tours was a soldier in the roman army. One winter, he was riding on his horse and saw a beggar freezing on the side of the street. Martin took off his coat and divided it with his sword into two pieces to share with the poor man. In that night, so the legend goes, a man appeared in Martin’s dream and Martin recognized him as Jesus—wearing the other half of the coat he gave to the beggar. Martin felt compelled to quit the army, get baptized, and later became a bishop. After his death, he was declared holy by the Pope and was canonized the patron saint of the poor and the soldiers. St. Martin’s Day tradition is celebrated every year in November.

Even though St. Martin died on the 8th of November 397, the Germans and some other European countries celebrate St. Martin’s every year on November 11tth, the date of his funeral. After sunset, children walk with their homemade, candle-lit lanterns on a stick through the streets following a man dressed as St. Martin on the horse. The walk usually ends at a bonfire, where the depiction of St. Martin cutting and sharing his coat comes alive, and the children receive their Bread Man (Weckman, Stutenkerl).

Lanterns for St. Martin's Day

Saint Martin’s Day Food

The Martin’s Goose is another St. Martin’s Day tradition. It’s also known as the Martinsgansessen a St. Martin’s Feast. Butchered the night before St. Martin’s Day, the goose is usually stuffed with apples, prunes, bread; and seasoned with herbs and spices. Depending on the region, bakeries offer edible Martin Men with little pipes in their mouths. They are a treat made from yeast dough.

Martin's Man, Stutenkerle

In the links below, I’ll show you how to roast a Martin’s Goose, how to bake the Martin Men, and how to make the paper lanterns. I’ve always enjoyed celebrating the St. Martin’s Day tradition when my children were young. It’s another great memory worth keeping alive—and sharing.


Yours, Oma

Martin’s Goose – Martinsgans


Martin’s Men – Weckmänner, Stutenkerle


Lanterns – Laterne


German Wine Festivals

German Wine Festivals! It is time for new wine! Great bottles and the Recipes to match.

German Wine Festivals

While Oktoberfest is in full swing in America, the Germans have moved on from their September celebration and are ready to commemorate the fruit from the vine. That is right, it is time for new wine and to introduce the fermented grape juice at the German Wine Festivals.

In October, the well-known wine-growing regions between the Rhine, Mosel, and Saale Rivers are starting to pick their grapes and press them into wine. Throughout this part of Germany, weekends are filled with festivals and wine-tasting events. The new wine is called “Federweisse.” Feder meaning feather and weisse meaning white. Together, Federweisse translates to: Newly pressed wine.

Whereas pretzels belong to beer, onion tart belongs to Federweisser. If you can not get this type of wine locally, you can always substitute it with any of your favorite chilled bottle of white wine. Here are some of mine.

Scroll down to find the recipes

Oma’s favorite white wines for fall:

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Germans live by the principal: “Essen und Trinken halten Leib und Seele zusammen,” which means, “Food and Drink hold body and soul together.”

Pair your white wines with these savory fall recipes:

Onion Tart (Zwiebelkuchen)

It’s really more like a quiche, but the Germans would never dare call it that!


Boston Lettuce Salad with Oma Mutti Dressing

“Oma Mutti” is what my son called his grandmother. It means “Grandmother Mommy.”

Boston Lettuce Salad Recipe

How do like them apples?

It’s peak of apple season so, naturally, you’ll find lots of desserts and drinks—including apple cider, juice, and wine—made from this deliciously versatile fruit. My Apple Streusel Cake and Homemade Apple Sauce has always been a family favorite. And hopefully, it they will become one of yours.

Apple Streusel Cake

Fresh McIntosh apples with a sweet crumble topping. Too good!

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Homemade Apple Sauce

It is so good and so easy to make, you will never buy apple sauce from a jar again.

Homemade Applesauce

And do not forget, there are other amazing apple recipes in Oma’s kitchen…

Try the Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce and the Sunken Apple Cake. They’re almost impossible to resist!

Simple Apple Cake for Oktoberfest Party Guide

Easy German Apple Cake Recipe





First Day of Elementary School

The First Day of School

First Day of Elementary School – always picture perfect.

In my day, the beginning of the school year started in spring and not after the summer break. The Einschulung, as we say in Germany is a very festive event and celebrated with traditions.

My godmother gave the new backpack called Ranzen to me, and my mother made sure that the traditional school cone was finished and filled with chocolate and goodies. 

Dressed in my best cloth I was prepared to attend the ceremony at the school. After the introduction to my new teacher, we walked to our classroom to receive our schedule followed by taking a group picture. We proudly held our school pretzels for the girls decorated with pink ribbons and for the boys with blue ribbons. (See picture above).

The beginning of the celebration ended at home sharing the pretzel with family and friends. 

Einschulung in the fifties and sixties in Germany.

  Starting School

I was very proud on my first day and felt very special. I thought every school year would begin this way. But to my surprise, the following year, there was no pretzel and no school cone. I realized that this was a one-time event. No wonder that Einschulung day is still so vivid in my mind.

Safety First

Most of the children in Germany are still walking to school. The children wear a bright yellow/orange cap to protect them in traffic and to make them easier seen by passing drivers.


I wish every newcomer to school life a great start and hope their first day is as exciting as mine was.

Yours, Oma

(Click titles or photos to go to featured post.)

School Pretzel

School Pretzel

School cone

School Cone filled with goodies

Invitation for download