News & Events
Understanding German Culture
- March 12, 2021
- Posted by: elanwp
- Category: German Blogs
UNDERSTANDING THE GERMAN CULTURE
The people, language, and traditions are what make the German culture unique. It has had a key role in the history of Europe, and not only. English speakers call it Germany, Germans themselves call it Deutschland. Germany is known as the country of poets and thinkers. German culture has been influenced and shaped throughout Germany‘s rich history once as an important part of The Holy Roman Empire, and later on as one of the most stable economies in the world. Whereas today, Germany is home to 82.2 million people including Germans and minorities of other nationalities that respect each other, and together make Germany a country of values, unique celebrations, and customs.
In this article, we have given some facts about the German culture, which has its roots at the beginning of the first millennium, though through time it has lost and gained different traits from the historical events that have shaped not only Germany but the whole old continent of Europe. Firstly, here are some facts about today’s Germany. Though English-speaking countries call it Germany, Germans themself call it Deutschland. It is Germania in Latin, l’Allemagne in French and Almanya in Turkish.Berlin is its capital, but Hamburg, Munich and Cologne are also among the main cities of Germany. It is estimated that the average woman in Germany lives around 83 years, while the average man lives 79 years. The main language is German and main religion is Christianity. There are a lot of stereotypes about Germans, as that they drink a lot of beer (which is true), they are hardworking and punctual (which is also true), and that the rate of unemployment in Germany is very low (true again).
Over 95% of the residents of Germany speak German, whether it is the standard German or any of its dialects. However, the German state has recognized four minority languages, which are the Upper and Lower Sorbian, Romani, Danish as well as North and Saterland Frisian. Because of the high number of immigration, there are also languages spoken by a sizable number of communities, as Turkish, Kurdish, Russian, Greek. Albanian, Polish etc.
Today, the average German dress is typically western. Both men and women wear dark simple suits and shirts in business context. However, each region of the country have their own traditional costumes, which differ a bit from one another. For example, in the state of Bavaria, the traditional costume for men is leather trousers that end just above the knee, while for women it is a dress that incorporates a bodice, blouse, full skirt and an apron. You can see people wearing these costumes, especially during carnivals or festivals.
In Germany a percentage of 65 to 70 of people recognize themselves as Christians, 29% of which as Catholics. There is also a Muslim minority of 4.4%. A number as high as 36% do not identify themselves as having any religion or belong to another than Christianity or Muslim.
Germans drink a lot of beer, eat sausages and make bread of different taste. That is not only a stereotype, but a true fact. It is estimated that the average German consumes around 140 liters of beer per year. Only in 2012 alone, Germans drank 2.25 gallons of beer, which is actually the lowest level since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1990. They are the second largest beer consumers in Europe, after the Czech.
Wurst, which means sausages in German, are an important part of the German cuisine, which are made of pork, beef or veal and flavored differently. As for bread, there is a long tradition of bread-baking of which Germans take pride in. There are breads with different shapes, black and white, with different tastes and names, sweet, soft, plain with all types of seeds you could think of. The German cuisine is also rich with different types of delicious traditional foods, as well as vegetarian and vegan. You may be a picky eater, but in Germany you will always have a lot of choices on what to eat and drink.
Though the Germans are known as very bureaucratic people, they too know how to have fun and enjoy life. The widely attended carnivals and festivals prove this statement best. Both types of events are a joyful period of the year in which whole cities engage in all-out parties and colorful celebrations. The Carnivals have a long history in Catholicism, while today they are celebrated by street parades of people wearing costumes and masks. There is a variety of carnivals and festivals celebrating all spheres of life and joy. Their weddings are also very special. It is a tradition for the bride to carry bread and salt with her as an omen for food harvest. On the other hand, the groom is supposed to carry grain for good luck and wealth.
It is estimated that around 27,000,000 Germans are members of a sports club, whereas an additional 12,000,000 pursue such an activity individually, what shows how keen Germans are in sports. The Bundesliga, which is a German football championship, attracts the second highest-average attendance of any professional sports league in the world. The German National Football Team remains one of the strongest football teams in teh world, having won a total of four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014) so far. During the periods of championships, whether it is FIFA World Cup, or the UEFA Champions League, huge screens are set in city squares, bar cafes and restaurants, where children and grandmas and anyone else in between, gather to watch the matches while drinking beer and eating sausages.
The German art has played a crucial role in the development and shaping of the Western art, especially of the Celtic art, Carolingian art and Ottonian art. Painting and sculptures in Gothic style were very famous in Europe, including Germany. The highlights of the 15th century were the design of altarpieces. Generations of German artists explored and showed their skills in Baroque and Rococo style, as well as of Neoclassicism. Romanticism is also a very important part of the German art. Some of the most famous German paintings are: “The Sin” by Franz Stuck, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich, “Studio Wall” by Adolf Menzel, “Heller Altarpiece” by Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald etc.