Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween 2019

Halloween started to become a thing in Germany over the past 28 years.  Fasching is Germany's carnival season that starts at 11:11 am on 11 November and lasts until midnight on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  In 1991, Fasching was cancelled because of the First Gulf War and somehow Halloween stepped in to fill the gap and over the years its popularity has grown.  

In the USA Halloween costumes can be pretty much any genre imaginable, from princesses and cowboys to vampires and zombies.  In Germany Halloween costumes should only be spooky or scary like a ghost or a witch because the non-scary costumes like a clown or whatever is reserved for Fasching.

One of the benefits of having an American godfather is that Tünde gets some Halloween support.  For school today she dressed up as a witch.  After school we carved a pumpkin together.  We lit candles outside and decorated the door so that kids knew to stop by and she handed out candy in her ghost costume.  

Instead of "Trick or treat", the children say "Süßes, sonst gibt's Saures" (Give me sweets or there will be sour things).

We had maybe five or six groups of children that came by.  This may not sound like a lot but for a quiet street in Friedrichshagen this was a respectable number.

While Halloween is growing in popularity here not everyone is happy about it.  For a couple of reasons.  First, Fasching starts two weeks later on St. Martin's Day (11 November) and children go around the neighbourhood with lanterns, while singing songs or reciting poems in exchange for treats.  

Note: St. Martin's Day in Czechland is about drinking young wine and eating goose.  

The second, and probably biggest problem with Halloween is that 31 October is Reformationstag (Reformation Day) which celebrates Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation that split the Catholic Church.  It's an important day for Lutherans and it is an official religious holiday in the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.  All the states that used to make up East Germany.

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