Halloween

Halloween Happenings in Berlin

I posted something about Halloween in Germany a long time ago (two years ago, actually), but this time the foreignness of the idea isn’t getting to me as much. I’ve accepted that Germany has accepted most of the US’s commercial holidays, including St. Patty’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day, so I just appreciate what I do see.

If I’m not mistaken, the Germans do have a Thanksgiving- even if it’s called “Harvest Thank Fest (Erntedankfest)” and even if it is closer to the harvest time in early October (Oct. 2nd, I believe).– I write “not mistaken” and “I believe” as though I don’t have internet and Google. I do. In fact, I just spent a ridiculous amount of time playing Google’s Halloween game. I can confirm that the above statements are true. —

In other news, I still find daily incentives to just get out and about the city by bike, if possible. The Allied Forces Museum is actually on the route to one of my University’s campuses. It’s almost right across from the US Consulate, where I may or may not have recently asked whether I could just vote at the US Embassy in center Berlin if I don’t get my absentee ballot on time.

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Here’s a photo from Platz der Luftbrücke. If you don’t know about the  Berliner Luftbrücke, or Airlift, I invite you to look it up.

This museum is in former west Berlin. The actual airport where the planes (like the one above) landed is much further in the east. I happened to walk by there today on my way home from a race.

The museum is one I really want to visit, as well as the Museum of Communications. Seeing as I’m doing my doctorate with media studies, I should inform myself about them as much as I can.

Today, it’s finally sunny after weeks of dreary clouds in Berlin. I spent all morning appreciating the sun, but now have to sit at my desk and work. At least the sun is gone now at 5 p.m. (Daylight Savings ended here!), so I feel less guilty.

Otherwise, life is pretty okay.

 

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I love this monument to freedom after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Makes me happy just to be able to see it on my commute.

I have one positive and one negative thing to say about living in Germany, or in Berlin:

(negative first, to get it over with): insurance laws are confusing as f***. Then again, they are in the US too, so can’t complain too much.

positive: the public transportation is such a huge quality-of-life booster. If I don’t have to get somewhere at a certain time, I can always get lost and find another way back to where I need to go. One transportation line always crosses with a line I’ll recognize, so I’m never lost for long. Of course, when I do have to be somewhere by a certain time… well, let’s just say I always need to plan a bit extra.

Hope everyone has a great week! Happy Halloween, tomorrow! I may not be dressing up, but I have my orange black cat socks I’ll be wearing.

Halloween in Germany

it’s a Hamburger pumpkin (not in Hamburg, though). Get it? 😉

Wir spuken heut vor Deinem Haus

und machen viel Geschrei

Gibst Du uns Süßigkeiten raus,

dann ist es schnell vorbei!

A few years ago (maybe more than a few, but definitely less than ten), Halloween made it to Germany. I could be cynical and say that like for McDonalds, commercialism can set cultural trends. I could also say that, of course Halloween is successful in Germany, because any opportunity to decorate and have fun will be driven by the market.

Stores here were filled with Halloween themed decorations and food. I was able to buy Halloween (pumpkin) soup, nibble on Halloween Munch, sip Halloween beer and look at the dozens of different kinds of Halloween candles and plastic pumpkins on sale. It was bizarre to see the things I associate with October in the U.S. with German labels and Euro pricetags.

However, after seeing Halloween take place this Friday, it’s clear that is has been accepted here.  While it may have had U.S. commercial origins (like many U.S. trends in Germany), it will slowly become German. I mean, clearly it is compatible with public transportation use.

Bender in der U-Bahn

Foto von echtlustig.com

I was surprised to learn that the Germans have their own rhymes for the children to say when they go from door to door. I can’t even remember if U.S. kids still say things like “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” But the German children, dressed up in the same classical witch, grim-reaper, scary costumes, had to earn their candy here. And in regards to the costumes, I noticed that they were more traditional. I felt like Halloween in Germany is therefore a little more closely tied with the original intention of the holiday. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that the 31. of October is also Reformation Day.

Maybe that’s why the “tricks” are rather mild. The worst “Streiks” I saw was shaving cream on the handles to mail boxes.

Another difference I noticed here is that children went from shop to shop and into restaurants, and the Kiosk cashiers or bartenders were actually prepared with candy to give to the children.

I enjoyed being able to see something traditionally U.S. here… it made me feel a little homesick. I myself didn’t take part in the festivities (Halloween on a Friday was a good excuse to party), but I had my Halloween towel hanging out all week. Counts for something, right?

And as last proof that the Germans do Halloween like the U.S. Americans, consider this pumpkin leftover from the holiday. Nov. 2nd and still out!

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At least this isn’t South Florida. there the pumpkins are lucky when they make it to the 31st.