Traveling to Germany and getting the full experience by participating in traditional German celebrations is the best way to connect with the locals. If you plan to visit and have no idea where to go and what to do, the following monthly traditional German events overview for 2018 will help you to find out where the locals gather… I guarantee you an amazing time !
Octoberfest (which begins in September) is the most famous and best-known event, but there are other unique activities to join such as fasching (carnival) or wine festivities and much more for every interest.
End-January to February
1. Montgolfiade Balloon Festival @Tegernsee: The Montgolfiade hot-air Balloon Festival at Tegernsee (ca. one hour south of Munich) is a charming event in the Alps, where huge hot-air balloons rise during the the mornings of Saturday (ca. 140 EUR to visit). The highlight is when some smaller hot-air balloons glow at night (on Saturday’s) whilst other fire performance take place in the background. This show is followed by a lasershow over the Tegernsee. Definitely a cool and different kind of traditional German experience to visit.
Mid-February to March
2. Fastnacht/Fasching (Carnival season) @Everywhere: It’s a time when Germans typically wear fancy dresses, let loose and party. Street parades, costume balls and other such festivities take place throughout the country, often varying widely according to local traditions. Some hotspots I recommend: Cologne, Düsseldorf, Karlsruhe. Rosenmontag, a very huge celebration party day in Cologne with the traditional parade !
3. The time of the Wine Festivals in the region @Rheinland Pfalz brings joy, local people, music, good wine – of course – and keeps a long tradition. Famous locations by the locals are Bad Dürkheim and Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Find the wine calendar here: www.pfalz-weinfeste.de
4. Celebrate Easter with a German family and discover our tradition. Usually on Ostersonntag (Easter Sunday), families gather and spend the day together eating and hiding chocolate in the garden for the kids to search for – usually Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits, etc.
5. Munich ballet week @Munich: Perhaps the most exciting time of the year for the Bavarian State Ballet is Munich Ballet Week (Bayerische Staatsballett). Over the last few decades, this event has become one of the most prestigious of its kind, drawing visitors from across Europe and beyond. Check online for the week’s schedule.
6. Frühlingswiesn (spring festival) auf der Theresienwiese @Munich: This is the local version and alternative during springtime to the beer festival in September/October, which is less crowded and very nice flair to celebrate the spring season.
7. Many people in Germany observe the night between April 30 and May 1 as Walpurgisnacht, Hexennacht (Witches or Walpurgis Night). People in some areas light bonfires and spend the evening and night outside. Young people may play pranks, such as moving a neighbor‘s garden furniture or ornaments to other properties. Most people spend time outdoors enjoying the spring weather on May Day. It is very typical to plan a bike tour on this day. The downside of the night is political activists rioting especially in Berlin and Cologne.
8. Hafengeburtstag @Hamburg: annual port celebration in Hamburg.
June / July / August
The official start of summer and German holiday season. During this time people are either on holiday or work and then spend a lot of time outside.
9. Apple Wine Festival @Frankfurt: Apple wine is so popular that the city has even created a festival that pays particular attention to the revered drink. Its not only wine that the festivals offers but also live music and performances as well and stalls that sell the traditional Bembel earthenware jugs in which apple wine is typically served.
10. IAA @Frankfurt: The international vehicle fair is another huge event in Germany for what the country is well-known for around the world – its cars.
11. Octoberfest, beer festival @Munich: a two-week celebration beginning in late September and ending on the first Sunday in October. A poor alternative is Stuttgart and other mid-sized cities.
12. 03.10. Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Germany unity day) @Everywhere: Germany’s national holiday commemorates the official date of German reunification, as specified in the 1990 Einigungsvertrag (Unification Treaty). This day plays its historic role and to be honest people in Germany appreciate this public holiday for not having to go work ha ha.
13. 11.11. carnival celebrations countdown @Cologne – Kölle Allaaf !
This song is really well-known and is actually quite a cool tune I think.
14. 11.11. St Martin’s day (traditions lanterns goose) @Everywhere: St. Martin’s Day is the feast day of Martin of Tours, who began his life as a Roman soldier and ended up a monk. St. Martin’s most famous deed is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, thereby saving the beggar’s life. That night, Martin dreamed that the beggar was Jesus. On St. Martin’s Day, celebrated in many areas in Germany, children meet in the kindergarten and go with paper lanterns and candles from house to house or to the park where they gather and sing songs about St. Martin in return for treats. Some areas have bonfires. This event really made my childhood and is such a great local experience.
15. Christmas markets, find out here where the best ones are and what they offer, click here: www.itravelforever.com/christmas-market-germany-places-to-go/
16. Celebrate Christmas eve with a German family (Heiligabend): a time when families gather (perhaps some go to the evening Christmas preaches singing “O du fröhliche” and light up little candles), then have dinner and enjoy time around the Christmas tree before exchange gifts – from Santa – in Germany and most of Europe. One of my favorite seasons in Germany, especially when I can dress as Santa and give the presents to my nephews – ho ho ho.
Fun facts you should know about Germany
- things run pretty efficient here “German efficiency” ha ha
- we all love breakfast and on a special breakfast occasion with friends cover the whole table with food
- we manufacture nice cars 😉
- the beer is not too bad, so we even have the biggest beer festival in the world
- sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes
- let’s not forget Nutella !
- the language sounds very angry but we are not
- we make not such bad music
- the football team plays decent
Go and travel to Germany, it has amazing places and a unique culture to discover !