german-culture

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Okay I can’t find the “imagine elves with an American accent” and I don’t know if it’s even related, but the thing I’m writing uses Elves to represent Europeans (Light Elves for Germanic cultures, Dark Elves for Romance) and it’s set in something like the 1920s, so various elves talk like Wodehouse characters, and OH MY GOD I CAN SO READ every single line of Tolkien’s Elves in Hugh Laurie’s Bertie voice:

“Dash it all, it is not the eastern shore that worries me, Jeeves. A shadow and a threat have been growing in my mind. Something draws near, I can feel it, and a rummy sort of something it is at that.”

“Strangers from distant lands, friends of old, you have all been bally well summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor. Middle Earth stands upon the ruddy brink of destrucsh.”

“With every victory this dashed evil will grow. If your old pater has his way, we will do nothing. We will hide within our walls, live our lives away from the light and let darkness descend, by Jove. Are we are not part of this world? Tell me, Tuppy, when did we let evil become stronger than us?“

There is a nice French word for standing in line waiting for something: »queue«. In the French origin it means »tail« and in the past it would even describe a »penis« (12th century). It derives from the Latin dialectal word »coda« which means »tail«, too.

»Queue« is a cool example on how the Germanic languages adapt loan words into their own system. 

  • The English language adapted the complete word without changing the spelling, BUT totally changing the pronunciation.
  • The Swedish language adapted the complete word as well, though it doesn’t look like the origin. To maintain the French pronunciation, they changed the spelling.
  • The German expression for »the line you stand in waiting« is »Warteschlange« and literally translated means »waiting snake«. There is no verb in the German language like in English »to queue« or in Swedish »att köa«. In German you have to say you »stand in snake« or »wait in snake«. But Germans also know the word »queue«, it is a »billiard cue«.

Trivia:
Did you know that queueing is not normal at a bus stop in Germany? While the first person that arrives at a bus stop in Sweden or in England establishes the queue, there is no similar behavior in Germany. When a bus arrives at a stop, all people run towards the entrance, irrespective of the order of appearance at the stop. The Germans have a very cool name for the picture that establishes, when everybody runs towards the door. They call it »human bunch of grapes« (Menschentraube = knot of people).

Pronunciation for Queue in French, Queue in English, Kö in Swedish, Billard Queue in German, Warteschlange in German und Menschentraube.

Ref.: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=queue

Prussian virtues.
  • Austerity or Thrift (German: Sparsamkeit)
  • Bravery without self-pity (German: Tapferkeit ohne Wehleidigkeit) “Lerne leiden ohne zu klagen.” Translation: “Learn to suffer without complaining about it.”
  • Cosmopolitanism (German: Weltoffenheit)
  • Courage (German: Mut)
  • Determination (German: Zielstrebigkeit)
  • Discipline (German: Disziplin)
  • Frankness or Probity (German: Redlichkeit)
  • Godliness, coupled with religious tolerance (German: Gottesfurcht bei religiöser Toleranz) “Jeder soll nach seiner Façon selig werden.” Translation: “Everyone shall be blessed according to their own belief.”
  • Humility or Modesty (German: Bescheidenheit)
  • Incorruptibility (German: Unbestechlichkeit)[3]
  • Industriousness or Diligence (German: Fleiß)
  • Loyalty (German: Treue)
  • Obedience (German: Gehorsam) “Seid gehorsam, doch nicht ohne Freimut.” Translation: Be obedient, but not without frankness.
  • Punctuality (German: Pünktlichkeit)
  • Reliability (German: Zuverlässigkeit)
  • Restraint (German: Zurückhaltung)
  • Self-denial (German: Selbstverleugnung) The German author and soldier Walter Flex (1887-1917) wrote “Wer je auf Preußens Fahne schwört, hat nichts mehr, was ihm selbst gehört.” Translation: “He who swears on Prussia’s flag has nothing left that belongs to himself.”[4]
  • Self-effacement (German: Zurückhaltung) “Mehr sein als scheinen!” Translation: “Be better than you appear to be!”
  • Sense of duty or Conscientiousness (German: Pflichtbewusstsein)
  • Sense of justice (German: Gerechtigkeitssinn) Jedem das Seine or Suum cuique
  • Sense of order (German: Ordnungssinn)
  • Sincerity (German: Aufrichtigkeit)
  • Straightness or Straightforwardness (German: Geradlinigkeit)
  • Subordination (German: Unterordnung)
  • Toughness (German: Härte) “Gegen sich mehr noch als gegen andere.” Translation: “Be harder against yourself even more than you are against others.”
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:Yore: : The Abyss of Darkness: 

1. Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall’s sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

2. I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

3. Of old was the age | when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were;
Earth had not been, | nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.

4. Then Bur’s sons lifted | the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty | there they made;
The sun from the south | warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground | with growing leeks.

5. The sun, the sister | of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast | over heaven’s rim;
No knowledge she had | where her home should be,
The moon knew not | what might was his,
The stars knew not | where their stations were


-Ulvrh

Dirndl Dress Dilemas (A cultural overview)

I had doubts about wearing my dirndl in America because even though I grew up in Germany where a lot of people still wear dirndls to festivals and stuff, I know how sexualized my cultural dress has become in America (and how just plain ignorant people can be). This is messed up guys. Just think about it–if I wore a Sari (traditional Indian dress), no one would give a care. I’ve seen men wearing kilts without a care and women wearing kimonos for special occasions. They’re accepted and respected here. But I show up in my dirndl and these are just a few of the reactions I’ve gotten: 

“Wow, showing some cleavage?" 

"Are you dressed as some kind of bar wench?" 

"You’re being embarrassing.”

“I like your medieval costume." 

"Hey look it’s Snow White!" 

That’s because the American vision of a dirndl is this: 

We even had a similar version stuck to the door of my German classroom in American high school, perpetuating the ignorance. This stuff is why when I say, "I’m going to wear my traditional German dress for halloween,” this is what they picture. 

So let’s raise some awareness folks. 
THIS is a traditional german dress. A dirndl.

And it might look old fashioned and a bit sexy, but that’s not an excuse to call me ‘wench.' 

Someday I want to be able to wear my dirndl in America without embarrassing my friends. 

Another 5 Random Facts about Germany

* The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 - over 20 years ago.

* Berlin has the largest train station in Europe. 

* There are over 150 old castles all over Germany.

* Germany borders 9 countries - Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland.

* Most taxis in Germany are Mercedes.

German Culture and Traditions

Tradition and Values:

Germans place a high priority on structure, privacy and punctuality. The German people embrace the values of thriftiness, hard work and industriousness. There is a great emphasis on making sure that “the trains run on time.” They are enduring people who struggle for perfectionism and precision in all parts of their lives. The do not admit faults, even teasingly, and seldom hand out compliments. At first their attitude may seem unfriendly, but there is a powerful sense of community and social integrity and a yearning to fit in.

Germany’s Greeting Method:

The greetings in this culture consist of the most common the handshake. The man is to wait until tell women puts her hand out before shaking it. Also crossing someone else’s handshake is inappropriate. Some gestures used in this culture are not chewing gum in public it is inappropriate. Talking with your hands in your pockets is disrespectful. Instead of crossing the fingers for good luck they simply squeeze their thumb.

Language of Germany:

Languages are German that is the official language, Deutschland  and the other two are Bavanrian and Halle, and they write in English.

How women and men are treated in Germany’s Society:

Men and woman have differently roles; males need to listen more, aggress less, and cooperate more. Husbands of working women are supposed to do an equal share of the housework and child care. Women do most of the housework, and they take care of the children. Women think they are doing too much housework, so they want men to be less aggressive.

Religion of Germany:

Christianity remains the dominant religion, with about 50 million, or 62 percent, identifying themselves as Christian. This group is split about evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The second largest religion is Islam with 4 million observers, making up 5 percent of the country’s total population, and that is followed by Buddhism and Judaism.

Business Culture of Germany:

The need for uniformity spills over into the business life of Germans. There is a loyal faithfulness to hierarchy and decisions are often made by a small group of leaders. Meetings are high controlled, and since opinions have often articulated in advance, there is not much patience for conflicting perspectives or discussion. There is a high regard for engineers in Germany, as evidence by the country’s accomplishments in the automotive industry. Due to this high level of respect for hands-on-expertise, businesses have a tendency to be headed by technical experts rather than lawyers or those with financial backgrounds. Workers at all levels are judged seriously on their ability and diligence, rather than interpersonal skills. Communication with coworkers as well as outsiders tends to be direct and not always diplomatic.

Sports and Recreation of Germany:
Germany is a world leader in tennis, track and field, cycling and swimming is very popular and almost every town has a public swimming pool. The national sport is soccer; Tennis is also popular, thanks to players such as Boris Becker, who was the youngest unseeded player to win at Wimbledon. He has since won a number of major tournaments, including two more at Wimbledon. Steffi Graf has won many women’s tournament. In winter, skiers flock to the German Alps. Germany has many popular ski resorts that attract skiers from around the world. Germans excel at winter sports, and have won Olympic gold medals for lunge, bobsled and speed skating. Enthusiasts to enjoy almost any sport. Windsurfing and sailing are enjoyed. Cycling is another popular thing to do

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Dating and Marriage in Germany:

The dating in Germany is different than that in the United States. They each pay for their own food and entertainment unless a special occasion. Legal marriages are performed by the city hall religious ones are optional. Young people may often live together before or instead of marriage. Germany has built its reputation on careful planning and exacting engineering values, it’s no surprise that this bleeds into nuptials as well. An engaged couple is required to give the government six weeks’ notice before their wedding. But once the party starts, it’s not unusual for it to last up to three days. The legal part of the proceedings is the civil ceremony and can be as simple as the bride, the groom and the official. Next comes the wedding gala, and this is where the fun really begins. Guests bring old dishes and toss them at the couple’s feet, the shattering glass signifying good luck. This is called Polterbend, which means “an evening with lots of racket.” Once all of the dishes have been broken, the couple sweeps up the shards to symbolize that nothing in their marriage will be broken again. Another German wedding tradition happens when the wedding guests caravan the bride’s belongings to her new home, where the groom greets her with beer.

Funerals:

The German custom, the funeral takes place 3 to 4 days after the person passes.  For the funeral service, relatives, friends and acquaintances gather in front of the mortuary and then accompany the deceased together with a priest and ministrants, in black and violet robes respectively.  The coffin is placed in the church in front of the high altar.  The priest says the requiem at the coffin, sprinkles it with Holy water and uses incense.  While the bells are tolling, the coffin, accompanied by the mourners is taken to the open grave and four pall-bearers lower the coffin into the grave.  The priest then gives a short speech.  Next the priest says some prayers and begins the prescribed ceremonies. 

Holidays and Celebration in Germany:

Germany celebrates many of the traditional Christian holidays, including Christmas and Easter. German Unification Day on October 3 marks the reuniting of East and West Germany and is the only federal holiday. While the country’s big beer bash is called “Oktoberfest,” its starts each year on a Saturday in September and ends 16 to 18 days later, on the first Sunday in October. The tradition started in 1810, with the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

  1. http://www.everyculture.com/Ge-It/Germany.html
  2. http://www.agtv.vic.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=63&Itemid=73
  3. http://www.mapsofworld.com/germany/about/culture.html
  4. https://sites.google.com/site/natapornthoheng/cultural-values/german-cultural-values
This is the TEUFELSTISCH, “Devil’s Table”, in the middle of the Pfaelzer Wald, Rhineland-Palatinate, just south of Kaiserlautern in southwest Germany.

And it has a legend which is almost suitable for Halloween.

Once upon a time the Devil traveled through the Wald, which was the biggest forest in Germany, and by evening he had become tired and hungry but was unable to find anywhere to sit down to eat, so he tore off two huge slices of rock to create his own table and chair.

Having finished his meal the Devil took the chair with him for the next time he wanted to stop, but left the 46 feet, 14 meter, high table, so the following day all the villagers were shocked to find an enormous mushroom shaped table had appeared overnight.

Which they knew could not have been created by any mortal hand.

But the rather less romantic explanation is that erosion created the Teufelstisch over millions of years, and the table top is a sandstone plate lying on two columns of rock. Weighing 300 tons it is the most famous rock formation in the Pfaelzer Wald, and was first climbed in 1922.

A now 6 meter, 20 foot, high fir tree has been thriving on the Teufelstisch’s “table top” since the early 20th century.
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FAUN - Walpurgisnacht (official video)

From the album LUNA. Die Walpurgisnacht is the German name for the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Germania. In Germanic folklore it’s also called Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”), the night of a witches’ meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Northern Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. Local variants of Walpurgisnacht are observed across Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia.