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How To in Germany
Keeping Up Traditions In Germany
German customs and traditions take a very important place in everyday life.
Traditions mean integration. People in Germany and other countries create their own customs and rituals
in their strong drive to build community around themselves, such as celebrating
certain occasions, cooking definite dishes for some holidays, wearing
certain clothes on different occasions, setting up fan clubs, organizing
sports sections, etc.
Customs and traditions provide assurance and an answer to the question
"What am I going to do at that occasion?" They
provide a framework, a set of signs and symbols, rules and roles, and
appropriate dress. The greatest events in the passage of life--birth and
death, christening and wedding-- all have their traditional customs. Following
them means respect for our predecessors who passed them over to us.
However, the rapid scientific-technological development in Germany in the 19th and
especially 20th century greatly contributed to the transition from a predominantly
rural-agricultural to an urban-industrial, even post-industrial, society.
This has resulted in a loss of the initial meaning of many German customs and
traditions that went without saying still couple of centuries ago. Nowadays
there is a dangerous tendency that if they are even maintained in the
folklore, less and less people will remember the true meaning and importance
such customs and traditions had in earlier times.
Especially people of the younger generation tend to estrange themselves
from their age-old traditional heritage and its true meaning. This happens
often because of the association with the term "tradition" that
bears a connotation of something fossilized and obsolete, and the tendency
of customs and traditions over time to turn into meaningless and rigid
prescriptions. This is not necessarily bad. Why, it is a natural process
when many customs get given up as no longer relevant, and are only referred
to in history. After all, there must also be room for cultural renewal
and the uprise of new customs and traditions that correspond to the hopes
and joys of today's world.
German culture abounds in specific customs and traditions. People from
all over the world are interested in this aspect of culture which is proved
by a growing number of letters I get daily from the USA, Germany, France,
Mexico, etc. This feature will launch a new category which will comprise
the best links to sites dedicated to German cultural traditions.