Valentine’s Day In Germany

Like Halloween, Valentine’s Day is a late addition to Germany.  Children here don’t typically exchange valentines in school like I did growing up, and the holiday is mostly for romantic couples here.

The stores here don’t usually sell children’s Valentine’s cards like you would find in the US, but the rest of the trappings of the holiday are pretty easy to find-  red hearts full of chocolate, balloons, flowers-  Hallmark and FTD would never let a market slip through their iron fist that easily.

That being said, Germany does have its share of interesting traditions that aren’t generally found in the US.  Among the red hearts full of chocolate and candy are the green foil wrappings of Lindt’s Der Froschkönig, the Frog King.  The connection of the Frog King to Valentine’s Day seems to be based loosely on the Brothers Grimm faery tale of the Frog Prince.  Eating a chocolate frog is better than kissing frogs, I guess.  In the original Brothers Grimm version, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall though.  Maybe you’re supposed to throw your chocolate frog at the wall also.

Either way, he sure is cute.   Here are some of this year’s Froschkönig offerings.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

frogking4 frogking2 frogking3

Do you have any interesting Valentine’s Day traditions to share?

Maybe Falkor should have been a Luck Pig.

I was walking past the bakery late last week, and I noticed a tray of little marzipan piggies with signs that said “Viel Glück!” which translates to “Good Luck!”  Sensing the possibility to learn something fascinating  and new, I immediately e-mailed this picture to my German Authority, Jenny, with the following missive:  “Please explain to me the tradition of the good luck pigs?”

luckpiggies

The reason for the little Angry Bird combatant snacks is that Germans regard pigs as lucky.   Around the end of the year, the Glücksschweinchen (lucky piglet) turns up in various snack foods, often with a four leaf clover or a horse shoe, which are also considered to be lucky.  Sometimes a ladybug, also considered good luck, is present as a red foil wrapped chocolatey treat.

Similarly, but not as sugary, chimney sweeps are said to be repositories of good luck, and on New Year’s Day you should do your best to shake hands with your friendly neighborhood sweep.  I wonder if the City worker guys who sweep up trash at the bus stop in the morning would count.

There are a slew of other superstitions and traditions- far, far too many to recount here.  As we go into New Year’s Eve, I’ll leave you with one more German superstition to bear in mind-  Never toast with water.  It’s considered a wish for harm to befall the people you are toasting.    Stick to ringing in the new year with fine Bavarian beer.  It’s just better for all concerned.

Happy new year, everyone!  Alles Gute im Neuen Jahr!