German Traditions to know before Studying in Germany

Germany is a country built upon culture and traditions. As an international student pursuing an education in Germany, it is important to learn about the German culture and traditions to fully immerse yourself while you study in Germany.

From Germany’s history and heritage to the nation’s love of beer, international students have a lot to learn before diving into the country that is home to 84.6 million people, 90,000 sports clubs, some of the biggest names in the world of philosophy and, of course, the world-famous Lederhosen.

So, what are some of the main German traditions to know while you study in Germany?

Study In Germany

German culture

Before we explore some of the main traditions in Germany, it is important to understand the culture in Germany and how that may differ from your home country.

Being a multicultural country, Germany is home to many different nationalities that live alongside Germans and embrace their way of living. Known for its world-class education system, Germany attracts students from around the world, with currently 458,210 international students according to Study in Germany, which is the backbone of Germany’s diversity.

Each one of the 16 federal states boasts its own culture and the country’s biggest cities including the capital Berlin, Hamburg and Munich are all strikingly different.

As with all countries, some key influences have developed Germany’s culture. From the devastating wars including the Thirty Years’ War, World War I and II and the Cold War to revolutionary political philosophy such as the Enlightenment period led by Immanuel Kant and the creation of Marxism developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Germany has been shaped throughout history.

Today, German culture and traditions speak to its progressive past, being leaders of change in the world and embracing innovation. Germany’s strong work culture is built upon efficiency, professionalism and productivity, while Germany as a nation emphasises the importance of personal and family time. Germany’s strong sense of community and respect for those around them and the environment is also a big part of German culture.

The other things that play a big role in German culture and traditions are beer, food, sport and music. These four things play into the so-called German stereotypes of a beer-drinking nation that takes pride in its high-quality production, hearty, meaty food with Bratwursts aplenty, a competitive sporting nation obsessed with football and a diverse music scene being home to the classical genius Beethoven and the European birthplace of Techno.

5 German traditions to know before you study in Germany

  1. Oktoberfest: Of course, we start with Oktoberfest, the world’s largest and most famous beer festival. First held in 1810, every year, Oktoberfest runs from a Saturday in mid-September to the first Sunday in October and officially starts when the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg. This is an unmissable event while you study in Germany where the six Bavarian beers, Hofbräu, Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten are consumed by people around the world during the festival.
  2. Christmas markets: No country does Christmas markets like Germany. From November onwards, German Christmas markets take centre stage in hundreds of towns and cities across the country. With handcrafted gifts, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine keeping people warm in the cold season, the atmosphere at the Christmas markets is something you must experience while you study in Germany. Whether it’s Munich, Cologne, Berlin or any other Christmas market, you won’t be disappointed.
  3. National holidays: While studying in Germany, traditions like national holidays will directly affect you, so it is important to note the multiple holidays that will be observed in Germany. As mentioned, family time is an important part of German culture and national holidays are widely seen as time spent with families. There are nine public holidays celebrated in Germany with all the usuals – New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day observed. Other national holidays include the Day of German Unity on 3 October to mark the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and Labour Day on 1 May to honour worker’s rights as well as Ascension Day and Whit Monday celebrated 40 and 50 days after Easter Sunday.
  4. Karneval: Karneval, also known as Carnival, Fastnacht and Fasching, is a German tradition celebrated in February. Etched deep in German tradition, Karneval is a fun celebration that allows people to be free and enjoy themselves. Fasching is celebrated in all German-speaking countries, held just before Lent and sees German streets filled with masks and costumes dating back to medieval times. For the most extravagant celebration during your education in Germany, head to Cologne.
  5. Lost items in trees: Now this is one you may not have heard before when you think of Germany, traditions and culture. However, hanging lost items in trees reflects the sense of community that can be seen throughout German society. From hats, gloves and scarves, to keys, wallets and toys, it’s commonplace for Germans to hang suspected lost items on a branch of a tree near where the item was found. So, while you study in Germany, if you see a strange-looking leaf hanging from a tree, the chances are it’s not a leaf, it’s a lost item!

Study in Germany today!

Now you know a little bit about German culture and traditions, discover how you can pursue an education in Germany. Boasting a global reputation for excellence in education and home to some of the world’s leading companies, Germany is a great place to go to university.

If you are interested in studying in Germany, find out what Gisma University of Applied Sciences can offer you today. With campuses in Potsdam and Berlin, Gisma University of Applied Sciences offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses with an emphasis on global impact.

Discover your potential today and build a platform for a global career by exploring Gisma University of Applied Sciences’ list of programmes here.

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