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



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 Schlager Volume Three

German Schlager Volume Three of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

By the end of the ’70s, early ’80s, musicians experimented with the music while…

35 Favorite Oktoberfest Songs

35 Favorite Oktoberfest Songs not only in Germany. Listed by Oma!

35 Favorite Oktoberfest Songs!

These 35 favorite Oktoberfest songs will make sure your party is a success. They invite you to dance and sway. Add Oma’s recipes for traditional German Oktoberfest food and the right beer.

Please scroll down, click on the title of the song below and you will be directed to a place to listen in for free.

Music plays a key part in every Oktoberfest celebration. And just like there are different courses in a traditional German meal, so are there various types music during the 16-day event. Each style of music has a special meaning and purpose.

The classics like marches, homeland music, and Oompah music mostly played during the opening of Oktoberfest, the big parade, as well as the “Fruehschoppen,” What is that you say? Oh, it’s the morning-get-together-for-a-drink time, of course.

Later on, comes the dance music, which is a mixture of homeland musicthe old musicand cult musicIt also includes classic hitsand some of today’s modern musicAlways upbeat and usually played in the evening, an orchestra will cater to young and old—playing music that is truly timeless and unquestionably German.

When it’s time for eating and drinking on the long tables and benches under the big tents, you’re sure to hear what I like to call “Jolly Music.” It doesn’t matter if you know the person next to you or not, chances are you’ll soon be locked arm in arm—swaying to the rhythm (“schunkeln”) and singing at the top of your lungs until the whole room is shaking. It’s quite a sight. And sound!

Like most things that are German, everything has structure and purpose. Soon, you’ll be able to recognize the 35 favorite Oktoberfest songs revealed and listed by Oma

# Song Artist Album Genre
1 Bayerischer Defiliermarsch Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
2 Anneliese Peter Alexander Aus Böhmen kommt die Mu.. German Folk
3 Wendelstoiner Schuhplattler Die Muenchner Blaskapelle Froehliches Oktoberfest German Folk
4 Mussinan-Marsch Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
5 Bubi bubi Noch Einmal Die Kaltensteiner European Masters Traditional
6 Unter Der Bavaria (Marsch) Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
7 Trompeten Echo Froehliche Blasmusikanten 200 Jahre Oktoberfest Rock
8 Toelzer Schuetzenmarsch Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
9 Tiroler Holzhackerbuam Keferloher Musikanten 200 Jahre Oktoberfest Rock
10 Auf und Nieder Zillertaler Schuerzenjaeger Zum Feiern German Folk
11 Oktoberfest-Laendler Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
12 Schuetzenliesl Oktoberfestkapelle Ernst Hanisch Oktoberfest Souvenir Traditional
13 Muenchner Kindl-Marsch Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
14 Der Klarinetten-Muckl Various Artists Oktoberfest Regional Music
15 Schneewalzer Gitty und Erika Jubilaeumsausgabe 44 Jahre Traditional
16 Erzherzog Johann Jodler Helga Reichel Erzherzog Johann Jodler Regional Music
17 In Muenchen Steht Ein Bayernkapelle Auf Zum Oktoberfest Traditional
18 Alte Kameraden Luftwaffenmusikkorps 3 Die schoensten Maersche Traditional
19 Steirerman San Very Good Das Stoakogier Trio Tz Oktoberfest Hits Other
20 Herz-Schmerz Polka Eddie und Freunde Oktoberfest German Folk
21 Wiesseer Watschentanz Various Artists Oktoberfest Traditional
22 Der Klarinetten-Muckl Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik vom Regional Music
Musikanten Muenchner Oktoberfest
23 Zillertaler Hochzeitsmarsch Zillertaler Schuerzenjaeger Oktoberfest Hits Disc1 Holiday
24 Muenchner Schuetzenmarsch Die Keferloher Musikanten 200 Jahre Oktoberfest Rock
25 Haushamer Plattler Adi Stahuber Ein Klingendes Souvenir German Folk
aus Bayern
26 Solang der alte Peter Lustige Musikanten Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichk… German Folk
27 Schaefflertanz Franzl Obermeier und Oktoberfest Traditional
seine Blasmusik
28 Heckenroeschen Polka Die Rosenholzer Oktoberfest Munich 2010 German Folk
29 Jubel, Trubel, Blasmusik Tirolerbuam O’zapft is Traditional
30 Geliebtes Muenchen Various Artists Froehliches Oktoberfest German Folk
31 Von der Tann Muenchner Oktoberfest Blasmusik Vom Muenchner German Folk
Musikanten Oktoberfest
32 Kaiserjaegermarsch Froehliche Blasmusikanten Schaetze Der Marschmusik German Folk
33 Muenchner Kindl Walzer Die Linzer Buam Froehliches Oktoberfest Traditional
34 Echt Bayrisch Polka Die Muenchner Blaskapelle Froehliches Oktoberfest German Folk
35 Liebelei am Isarstrand Die Linzer Buam Froehliches Oktoberfest German Folk


Traditional German Gingerbread House

Traditional German Gingerbread House

Traditional German Gingerbread House – Lekuchenhaus

The Traditional German Gingerbread House reminds me always of the story of Hänsel and Gretel. I remember one apple blossom festival in my small hometown when I was Gretel during a parade in front of the gingerbread house, driving on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Unforgettable memories.

Ingredients for the Traditional German Gingerbread House:

  • 1000 g (2.2 lb) of flour, all-purpose
  • 500 g (1.1 lb) of honey
  • 450 g (15.8 oz) of sugar, white
  • 100 g (3.52 oz) of margarine OR butter
  • 2 eggs, XL
  • 15 g (½ package) of Lebkuchengewürz OR 2 teaspoons of the homemade gingerbread spice mix, find the recipe here
  • 3 ½ teaspoons of Pottasche (potash, pearlash) OR 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of water, to dissolve the Pottasche/baking soda

Ingredients for Icing:

  • 1 egg white, XL
  • 150-200 g (5.29-7.05 oz) of powdered sugar
  • food color for coloring the icing (optional)

Beat the egg white until it is stiff. Add the powdered sugar slowly to it. If the icing is too soft, add more powdered sugar; if it is too stiff, add little by little warm water. After the house is glued and decorated with lines, you can color the rest of the icing with food color to make the sugar flowers and decorate the gingerbread cookies.

Ideas for the Decoration:

  • sugar flowers, find the recipe for the homemade flowers here
  • shaped cookies into Christmas themes
  • waffle cookies
  • peeled almond halves
  • nuts
  • maraschino cherries, cut into halves
  • marzipan fruits and flowers
  • sprinkles
  • deco sugar
  • m&m’s
  • chocolate morsels
  • chocolate Nonpareils

homemade sugar flowers                     Gingerbread decoration

Preparation of the dough for the Traditional German Gingerbread House:

First, mix the Pottasche/baking soda with the water in a glass and set aside.

Add butter, honey, and sugar in a saucepan and heat it while continually stirring until the sugar dissolves. Take the honey mixture off the stove, pour it in a mixing bowl, and let it cool down.

Add the gingerbread spices, dissolved Pottasche/baking soda, and eggs into the mixing bowl and knead the ingredients using your handheld mixer. Add one tablespoon at the time the flour to it and continue kneading until a smooth dough is forming. If necessary, knead the dough with your hands.

Cover the dough with a cellophane wrap and let it rest for 2-8 days. If you store the dough in the refrigerator, take it out 1 hour before working with it.

Preparation of the honey sugar mixture   Honey butter mixture   preparation of the dough

Material for the Templates:

  • poster card board
  • baking paper
  • glue
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors

Templates for the Traditional German Gingerbread House

Preparation of the Templates:

You need the following templates to build the gingerbread house; one front, one back, two sides, two roofs, one square window, one round window, and the door. Cut the templates for the Gingerbread house with the measurements shown in the picture above. Glue baking paper onto the cut templates, so that the templates do not stick to the dough and it is easier to remove them.

Preparation of the baking:

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, 1 hour before working with it. Knead the dough using your hands. If it is too sticky, add some flour to it. Work with parts of the dough at a time. Use one-quarter of the dough, place it onto baking paper, and cover it with cellophane wrap. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm (¼ inch). Remove the cellophane wrap and transfer the dough with the baking paper onto the baking sheet. Place the template on top of the dough to cut the shape using a pizza cutter or knife. Remove the template.

Preheat the oven to 185°C (365°F) for 12-15 minutes. Bake the gingerbread on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes.

Continue baking the other parts of the house the same way. Cut out the door and windows of the front before baking. Use the rest of the dough for baking the base for the house.

Rolling the dough   Cutting the shape   Baking the dough

Building the Gingerbread House:

There are two ways to build the base for the house. You can bake the rest of the dough to a base, but you also can use a cake drum or baking sheet and cover it with foil wrap, which I did. I like to use the rest of the dough for baking the decoration using cookie cutters for stars, hearts, pretzel, trees, and the fence.

It takes three steps to build the house. Use the icing to glue the gingerbread house together. Fill the icing into a decorating bag and cut a small hole into the bag. Spread the icing onto the edges and bring the parts of the house in place. Have a bottle standing against the parts to hold them in place. First, connect the sides with the front and the back and let it entirely dry, best overnight. Secondly, place the roof on top using toothpicks to support the roof staying in place, and lastly, the door and shutters before decorating with the icing using a star tip and decorating bag.

Building the gingerbread house   Finishing the building of the gingerbread house   Decorating the gingerbread house

The dough is enough to build a gingerbread house, as described in the recipe. Or a large gingerbread house and base, or using a gingerbread house cookie cutter set to build 4 small houses. You can find the cookie cutter set here.

To make the Original German Gingerbread Recipe click here, and the German Gingerbread Elisenlebkuchen, click here.

Traditional German Gingerbread House





German Easter Celebration and Authentic German Recipes

German Easter Celebration

German Easter Celebration in America

See why Americans are hopping to these German-themed recipes, gift ideas, and traditions.

In Germany, Easter is a holiday that is as highly regarded as Christmas. The German Easter Celebration start on the Good Friday and end with the Second Easter Holiday, which is the Monday after Easter Sunday. In some regions in Germany, it starts already on the Thursday before Easter. It’s a long weekend and most of the businesses, banks, schools, and government offices are closed. Easter marks the beginning of spring, and I always associate it with a phrase from the Osterspaziergang (Outside of the Gate) better known in English as the “Easter Walk” by the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe where he says:

“Zufrieden jauchzet Gross und Klein: Hier bin ich Mensch, hier darf ich’s sein!”

“Contented, great and small shout joyfully, here I am Man, here dare it to be!”

Flowers for German Easter Celebration                     DSC_1878

Did you know, that the Americans adopted the bunny from the Germany as one of their German Easter Celebration?

The Easter bunny was first introduced to America by German immigrants in the 1700s. To learn more about the egg-laying hare, these Pennsylvania Dutch settlers called “Oschter Haws,” click here.

Traditional Decoration for German Easter Celebration      Easter decor German tradition      Easter decorations

The Easter traditions are structured and start on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Good Friday is a very quiet day—and the parents always made sure of it. No loud noises, or raised voices, and definitely no fighting. On this day, my mother prepared the cakes and food for the Easter weekend. The Good Friday meal consisted of creamed spinach, potatoes cooked in salt water, and scrambled eggs. It’s a tradition I still keep today and share with my family and friends year after year. (See recipe below.) The eggs we eat are blown out after pricking a hole with a needle on top and bottom. The shells are painted and decorated by the children. Afterward, we would hang them on budding branches—either forsythia, cherry tree, willow tree, or pussy willow. 

decorated eggs hang on pussy willow for German Easter Celebration                IMG_1824

About egg coloring, egg hunt, and visits during German Easter Celebration:

We always color the hard-boiled eggs on Saturday. The Sunday morning breakfast starts with the Easter Wreath—a decorated cake-like bread. (Recipe below.) After breakfast, the parents hide the eggs outside. Once all the eggs have been found, children visit their godfathers and godmothers—where Easter baskets await them filled with goodies that include chocolates, fruit gums, more colored eggs, and the ever-present chocolate bunny.

The godparents in Germany are very important in children’s lives, and in most of the families, are also involved in helping to raise them the right way. In the emotional hierarchy, the godmother comes right after the mother and grandmother. This certainly was very true for my godmother and me. For sure, she had a lot of influence in helping to create the person I am today.

Coloring eggs for German Easter Celebration                        DSC_1871

Traditional activities during German Easter Celebration:

For Easter dinner, my mother always prepared rabbit with salad and dumplings. I just couldn’t eat the poor thing. Especially since I played during the week with him—feeding him clovers and dandelion. The thought of eating my friend didn’t sit well with me at all. Well, at least the salad and dumplings were good.

One of the Easter traditions I liked very much were the get-together later in the afternoon. The whole family went for their Osterspaziergang “Easter Walk” to the designated place in town to meet most of the neighbors and extended families.

Games for German Easter Celebration

While the grown-ups had their serious talk, the children kept busy outside with fun and games like the egg-and-spoon race, the sack race, and the egg toss.

Whereas the Christmas holidays are always filled with excitement and joyful anticipation, the Easter holidays with it’s Easter traditions are usually more low- key, and the children by instinct understand the difference in the atmosphere.

DSC_1860 DSC_1882 IMG_1677

German Easter Celebration, recipes for meals and desserts

Spinach, Potatoes, and Scrambled Eggs – Spinat, Kartoffel und Rühreier

Creamed Spinach

Roast Lamb – Boneless Lamb Leg

roast lamb recipe

German Meatloaf – Falscher Hase

False Hare Falscher Hase

Easter Wreath – Osterkranz

Easter Wreath Bread for German Easter Celebration

Lamb Cake – Lammkuchen


Easter Cake – Ostertorte

Homemade Easter Cake

Chocolate-Covered Cupcakes (Peter Rabbit) – Cupcakes mit Schokoladenguβ (Peter der Hase)

Cupcakes for German Easter Celebration

Cheese Cake – Käsesahne

German Cheese Cake Recipe

Sunny Side Up Cake – Spiegeleierkuchen

Spiegeleierkuchen for German Easter Celebration

Lemon Cake Roll – Zitronenrolle

Lemon Cake Roll Recipe for German Easter Celebration

No Easter is complete without Peter Rabbit.

Fill your Easter basket with the classic tales by Beatrix Potter. Click here for my thoughts on this furry family of critters, plus where to find the most amazing assortment of Peter Rabbit collectibles. They’re sure to make a great Easter gift for the little hoppers in your family.




German May Day Traditions and Authentic German Recipes

German May Day Traditions

German May Day Traditions – Fun and interesting facts about the First of May in Germany

Facts about German May Day Traditions. As the German saying goes, it’s May Day, “Alles neu macht der Mai,” which translated means, “May makes everything new.” The first of May is also known as May Day—not to be confused with the SOS emergency call mayday,” which derives from the French “m’aidez” pronounced “mayday,” and means “help me.” 

German May Day Traditions – Witches Night (Walpurgisnacht)

German May Day traditions start the night before the first day of May. The Germans, along with some other European countries, celebrate the birthday of nature. The trees come into leaf, and the flowers in the garden start blooming.

A lot of traditional activities are underway and start the day prior. The night of April 30th is the Walpurgisnacht, also called the Hexennacht, meaning “Witches Night.” Legend has it that the witches met every year on the night of April 30th on the Brocken. It is the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany to meet with Satan on their Sabbath.

German May Day Traditions – The Maypole (Maibaum)

On May 1, the Maibaum (May Tree or Maypole), cut down in March, will be raised to welcome spring. All branches are removed and cleared so that only the log’s trunk is left and used as the pole for decorating with garlands of fir and colorful ribbons, carved figures, and flowers. 

The tree is usually a birch because it’s known as the tree of new beginnings. It’s carried through the village, accompanied by music under the watchful eyes of neighborhood spectators. Before raised, the Maypole can be stolen by mischievous neighboring villages. If successfully stolen, the town has to pay for its return with a case of wine or beer. (Photo of Maypole Thomas Dornfeld)

Wilfried1 2   600_4848

German May Day Traditions – The May Dance (Tanz in den Mai)

The May Dance takes place on the evening of the Walpurgisnacht. Traditionally, the dance happens around a big bonfire to scare away the evil ghosts and evil spirits with loud noises.

German May Day Traditions May Dance

When the fire is almost out, young lovers will often jump hand in hand over the burning embers. This unique custom is called “Maisprung” (May jump).


While being served local culinary specialties during the May Dance, the most typical drink is the May Wine Punch(Maibowle). The Maibowle is a delicious mix of dry white wine (Chardonnay or Riesling is preferred) and dry champagne flavored with fresh sweet woodruff (Waldmeister or Maikraut) served chilled. A good substitute for the fresh-cut woodruff is woodruff syrup. (Scroll down to find some recipes made with sweet woodruff).

Sweet Woodruff Plant                     

Sweet woodruff plants and flower

May’s flowers are the dog-rose or Rosa Canina (it resembles the dog tree but is softer and more of a bush) and the lily of the valley, which in Germany is called the Maigloeckchen (little May Bell). It is a symbol of purity—bringing luck in love and the return of happiness.


Lily of the valley flowers

The above symbols are all excellent reasons why the lily of the valley is used for weddings, Mother’s Day, and confirmations—which all take place in May. One of the traditional German presents for confirmation is a religious songbook bound in leather with the date and name embossed in gold.

IMG_4073   Konfirmation Yvonne

Confirmation greeting card and religious songbook showing a hymn about May                         Oma’s confirmation May 1970

Labor Day (Maifeiertag)

The first of May, May Day is also celebrated as Labor Day in many countries, including Germany. While some are celebrating the traditional welcoming of spring, others are busy supporting the workers’ movements. The date was inspired by an event taking place in Chicago in May of 1886, called the Haymarket affair—also known as the Haymarket massacre or Haymarket riot. This labor demonstration ended up in violence with some unfortunate deaths. The strikers were fighting for better working conditions and an eight-hour workday.

 ThomasDornfeld 12-1972

In most countries, the May Day first of May is an International Labor Day, recognized and observed as a holiday. As in the past, each year, worldwide rallies, marches, and demonstrations take place supported by unions or parties. People are asking to stand up for better work situations and conditions, along with safer work environments and more job security—all in an attempt to create a brighter future for their families.

 German May Day Traditions Labor Day

(Pictures of May March by Thomas Dornfeld, May1, 1072, Berlin Germany)

Oma’s recipes for May celebrations:

Sweet Woodruff Cheese Cake with Strawberries (Waldmeistertorte)

Sweet Woodruff Cheesecake

Sweet Woodruff Jelly (Wackelpudding Waldmeister)

Sweet Woodruff Jelly

Sweet Woodruff Syrup (Waldmeistersirup)


May Wine Punch (Maibowle)

German May Wine Punch


German Mother's Day and Authentic German Recipes

How to create a Mother’s Day she will never forget. It is easy!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day happens every year, on the second Sunday in May, a special holiday is celebrated to honor mothers of all generations. This special day filled with flowers started as a Memorial Mother’s Day Meeting for the mother of Anna Marie Jarvis, a social activist during the American civil war. “Mother’s Day” was officially recognized in 1909, and accepted in 45 states. Five years later, in 1914, Europe started to follow suit and by 1923 it became a national holiday in Germany.

Celebrating Mother's Day

Childhood memories of Mother’s Day

As a child, my siblings and I would decorate the breakfast table with some wildflowers picked in the meadows.

unspecified-7   L1190321   IMG_8948

Or, lilac from the garden. We did this while my mother was sleeping in. This was a special gift because she was always the first one to get up and the last one to go to bed.

IMG_4785                       IMG_4788

By the end of April/beginning of May, sweet woodruff was ready to be picked and prepared for desserts and drinks.

Using in Season Produce

Since the beginning of May is the season for fresh white asparagus, our family (like many German families) would take full advantage. The lunch menu on Mother’s Day would consist of asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, cooked ham, and potatoes sauted in butter. (Green asparagus is much more common in the states, but if I had a choice between the two, I would go with the white variety). You could easily replace the ham with Oma’s cordon bleu

Lunch Mother's Day

Dessert was always a special treat in our house. A chilled Vanilla Cheese Cream Pudding mixed with fresh strawberries, plus a glazed Strawberry Sponge Cake. So good. (Look for links to recipes below).

As nice as it is to have a special day for mothers, I believe they deserve extra recognition and appreciation throughout the whole year. Every day should be a celebration for all that they do—and all that they’ve done. After all, if it weren’t for our moms, we wouldn’t be here. So, go ahead, surprise that special lady with something unexpected and not just on Mother’s Day.

Remember, do not just tell her you love her, show her.

Yours, Oma

Mother’s Day Recipes

White Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Sliced Ham and Sautéed Potatoes (Weiβer Spargel with Hollandaise Soβe, Schwenkkartoffel und Schinken)


Strawberry Sponge Cake Dessert – Erdbeertorte

Strawberry Sponge Cake Dessert

Vanilla Cheese Cream Pudding with Strawberries (Kaesecremespeise mit Erdbeeren)

Vanilla Cheese Pudding Dessert

Chocolate Roll Cake with Whipped Cream Filling (Schokoladenrolle)

German Chocolate Log Cake

Strawberry Shortcake (Erdbeertorte mit Sahne)

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Linzer Cake (Linzer Torte)

Linzer Cake Recipe

Sweet Woodruff Cheese Cake with Strawberries (Waldmeistertorte)

Sweet Woodruff Cheesecake

Sweet Woodruff Jelly (Wackelpudding Waldmeister)

Sweet Woodruff Jelly

May Wine Punch (Maibowle)

German May Wine Punch


Traditional Gluehwein Recipe

Traditional Gluehwein Recipe

Traditional Gluehwein Recipe – Mulled Wine

The mulled wine (Gluehwein) is a popular beverage and known for being served at Christmas markets in Germany. Follow the smell of spices, oranges, and wine, and you will find a Weihnachtsmarkt. This traditional Gluehwein recipe – mulled wine is easy to prepare. Preparations can be done ahead of time and the mulled wine may be stored in the refrigerator. Just take the wine out of the refrigerator when you want to serve it and reheat.

Ingredients for Traditional Gluehwein Recipe:

  • 2 bottles of dry redwine (I used Merlot) OR 1 l (1.05qt) of red wine and ½ l (0.52 qt) of spring water
  • 4 anise stars
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 6-8 whole coriander
  • 8 whole cardamom
  • 250 g (8.81 oz) of brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cognac OR brandy (optional)
  • juice of 1 orange
  • grated peel of 1 orange

Preparation of Traditional Gluehwein Recipe:

Mix wine or wine-water mixture, orange juice, brandy and sugar and pour into a saucepan. Add spices and orange peel. Mix ingredients with a whisk and slowly heat the liquid to the boiling point while stirring occasionally. When you reach the boiling point turn the heat off. Remove the wine mixture from the stove, cover the saucepan and let it stand for about 30-60 minutes, depending on how strong a spice flavor you want. 

img_8959   Spices Traditional Gluehwein Recipe   Preparation Gluehwein Recipe

Pass the prepared wine mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Reheat the mixture for immediate use. (Do not boil!)

The Gluehwein can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator and reheated when needed. 

To find the recipe for the Fresh Eggnog click here, for the Fire Tongs Punch click here, and for the Holiday Apple Punch Recipe click here.