Holidays and warmer weather in Germany

Easter just passed and it was the first time I celebrated the holiday away from home.  


In Germany, the same things can be found in the supermarkets around Easter as in the United States: colored eggs, chocolates, and bright signs decorated with bunnies. Although I see the same things, it feels different than when I’m at home.  


I am living in a country that’s rich with various nationalities and religions. My friends are Christian and Muslim, and some declare no religion at all. This is how all of Germany is made up, diverse and unique, not just my small friend group.  


For this reason, Easter doesn’t feel the same as when I’m at home celebrating with people who think and believe the same way as I do. Instead, I’m celebrating with some of those who recognize the holiday and am explaining the significance of the holiday to those who are unfamiliar with it. It’s a wonderful and humbling experience to share your culture with others. 


In addition to Easter, there are multiple holidays my international friends celebrate in Germany that are only recognized in their home countries. For example, my friend from India recently celebrated “Bohag Bihu,” a festival to recognize the new year of the Assamese community. He brought a native food called “Pitha” for us to try and eat in celebration.  

Photo by Shelbi R. Ankiewicz.


This is only one of the many holidays and festivals that will be celebrated between our different cultures. Yet, in addition to these, we also recognize celebrations native to Germany. 


Germany is classically known for its Oktoberfest which will take place this year from Sept. 17 until Oct. 3. The festival is primarily celebrated in the city of Munich and was originally established on Oct. 12, 1810. 


The festival originally came together to commemorate the marriage of the crown of Prince Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Although now it is a time for people to come together, celebrate the German culture, bond over good food, and of course, beer. 


Up until recently, the weather in Germany has been quite cold. Usually by this time, I would be enjoying the beach on the weekends, but most days here I am still wearing a jacket. Germans have a special saying for April, which says “April makes what it wants.”  


What they mean by this, is April does whatever it desires when it comes to the weather. It can be snowing one day and be 68 degrees the following afternoon. This is a funny saying that most know,  but it is also true.  


We are just now approaching what we hope to be warm weather, and it’s interesting to see how people are reacting. At home, it is common to go to the beach and enjoy a day in the sun. Well, in Germany, we don’t have a beach and not every day is full of sunshine.  


When it’s even remotely warm outside, one can find crowds of people standing outside a local ice cream shop, groups of friends having a picnic near the Rhine, or taking a bike ride to enjoy the weather. Every inch of sun is never taken for granted.  


I’ve experienced this with my own friend group. Every time the weather is nice someone makes a comment and we arrange an outing so we can all enjoy it together. It’s a very sincere experience, because at home I never think about the sunshine or how happy it makes me, but here, I’m reminded of it daily and how grateful I am for it.  


I am excited to learn and participate in new holidays and festivals, all while becoming more appreciative of what’s right in front of me.