St. Patrick’s Day in Germany

Munich is the venue of one of the biggest parades on the continent celebrating the Irish national holiday.

Maybe it’s because the Irish are such friendly, open-minded people, and maybe it’s because so many of them live abroad. The fact is that when St Patrick’s Day arrives, the celebrations are by no means limited to Ireland. Around 17 March, green decorations adorn whole streets in many cities of Europe, the USA and beyond. And Germany is no exception when it comes to celebrating the day of the Emerald Isle’s patron saint, fondly known as St Paddy.

However, the religious aspect of the festival honouring St Patrick has long since been eclipsed. The 17 March marks the death of the saint, who reputedly became a Christian in the fifth century and then converted the Irish. According to legend, he used a three-leaf sprig of clover (shamrock) to illustrate the Holy Trinity to the Celts on the island. The shamrock became the national symbol and always plays a leading role in the St Patrick’s Day parades and parties.

This certainly applies to Munich which is the venue of one of the largest St Patrick’s Day gatherings on the European continent. Irish people and Ireland fans have been meeting for the festival in the Bavarian capital since the mid-1990s. What first began as a fairly private celebration quickly developed into a kind of folk festival. Then the Allianz Arena and the Olympic Tower are bathed in green light for the Irish national holiday.

Valentine’s Day in Germany

Happy Valentine’s Day to all, but especially our students and those in the small but passionate German community in Arizona! We hope this is a day filled with love, peace and the really important thing in life, chocolate.

For most Americans, Valentine’s Day is a pretty commercialized holiday that generally involves the buying of small, sentimental presents like cards, candy and flowers. But have you ever wondered what it’s like in other countries? Or whether other countries celebrate it at all? Let’s take a dive into Valentine’s day in Germany!

Valentine’s Day in Germany does not actually make as big of an impact as it does in America. In fact, Valentine’s Day has only grown in popularity over the past few decades. It’s celebrated much as it is in America, by honoring one’s love for their romantic partners with candy, sweets, flowers, balloons and cards. Germany does, however, have a few odd traditions that are not known or observed in America.

A popular symbol for Valentine’s Day in Germany, often found on cards and trinkets, is a little pig holding out flowers, balloons or four-leaf clovers. These cute little piglets are supposed to represent both love and luck to those who receive them. They can even be found as chocolate carvings, much like the Easter Bunny! Another popular tradition in Germany is the giving of a giant ginger cookie in the shape of a heart. This treat is often decorated with icing and given to the bearer of one’s affections.

All in all, Valentine’s Day in Germany is a lighthearted holiday that can be celebrated with friends and family as well as romantic interests. Happy chocolate eating!

Let’s Talk About German Thanksgiving!

Prost! Or “cheers” in English, is what all the Germans say during the autumn festivals of thanks known as Erntedank. While Erntedank is not a direct match to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, it is the closest thing that Germany and other German-speaking countries have. Thanksgiving is celebrated in American on one day out of the year with a large feast and a gathering of friends and family. Often the day includes parades, sporting matches and general displays of gratitude and togetherness. Many Americans across the country even eat versions of the same meal, with turkey, cranberry sauce, bread stuffing and other casseroles making an appearance on many tables.

So how does the tradition of Enterdank in Germany compare to its American cousin? Let’s check it out:

  1. Erntedank does not take place on one day, it is more of an autumn festival period that is usually celebrated over September and October, and sometimes November in some regions.
  2. Erntedank also includes Oktoberfest and any Halloween-related celebrations that some German regions may have as well.
  3. There are not many special traditional foods that Germans eat during Erntedank, but turkey or goose usually make an appearance!

Let’s Talk About German-American Day

On National German-American Day we celebrate the German heritage that millions of people claim in this country. This day was first designated with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan on October 6th, 1983. Reagan’s proclamation marked the 300 year anniversary since the first German settlers landed in the original thirteen colonies. These settlers were a group of Mennonite families from Krefeld who made their home in 1683 in the area that is now Philadelphia. Germantown, so named by the Mennonite settlers, is still a thriving community in Philadelphia today.

If you’re a German expatriate living in American or you can claim German heritage, this day is for you. Celebrate the day by sharing the German food, language and customs that you love with friends and family. If you live in the Phoenix Valley, you might want to visit the Old Heidelberg Bakery in Central Phoenix or Haus Murphy’s in Glendale.

We’d also love to hear how you experience or celebrate your German heritage on German-American Day, and the rest of the year too! And if you’d like to brush up on your German skills, sign-up for classes at German School Phoenix!

German Unity Day

Every October 3rd, all of Germany and German citizens around the world come together to celebrate German Unity Day, or Tag der Deutschen Einheit. This is Germany’s National Day and is celebrated as a public holiday. Cities across the country throw lavish celebrations with festivals and fireworks displays, while one city is nominated to hold a larger, national celebration. Berlin in particular tends to hold the largest celebrations in the country. Typical host cities in recent years have been Potsdam, Kiel, Berlin, Mainz, Dresden and Frankfurt.

German Unity Day is an official celebration of Germany’s reunification in 1990. On that day, East and West Germany were brought together as one country once again. The collapse of the Berlin Wall a year earlier in 1989 symbolized the spark that would end the Cold War and reunite the country for good. Although months of demonstrations and political discussions followed the fall, Germany completed unification with a treaty signed on October 3rd.

As students of the German language and culture, we all love to learn about and appreciate Germany’s successes, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. German School Phoenix is also part of the larger Germany community in Arizona, which includes many native speakers and German expatriates. We hope everyone had a wonderful German Unity Day!

Now Hiring: Part-Time German Teachers!

We have an exciting opportunity at the German School Phoenix! We have openings for part-time German teaching positions for our Fall Semester. Read on if you’re interested or know someone who might be!

GSP is looking for teachers of all class levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The ideal applicant should be a native/native-fluent German speaker with some experience teaching adults or children. We are looking for applicants who can engage our students in all aspects of the German language and culture in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. This is a great opportunity for retired or established teachers who want a side gig, or new or aspiring teachers who are just starting out!

Teachers can expect to work roughly 3 to 4 hours a week. Classes are held in-person at our location in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday mornings. Compensation is hourly depending on experience.

Fill out an application at the link below, or forward it to a friend! We look forward to hearing from you:

German School Phoenix Teaching Application

German School Updates!

It’s another blazing summer in the Valley of the Sun! Temperatures have reached over 115, eggs are cooking on sidewalks, and everyone’s just trying to make it through. The German School Phoenix has some pretty exciting updates!

  • The second half of our Summer Conversational Classes are well under way and everyone’s having a blast! These classes are conversational only, with the intention for students to have fun and use the skills developed in regular classes.
Get ready for in-person German Classes again!
Get ready for in-person German Classes again!
  • We are getting close to the start of our Fall Semester on August 21st! Classes will be held in-person at our regular location. The date to pay tuition without a late fee is fast approaching on July 22nd.
  • We’ve recently had the pleasure of hiring a local Marketing Assistant to take GSP to the next level! Her name is Ruth Brown and she lives in Glendale, AZ with her four dogs. She’ll be helping GSP with some new events and programs. Feel free to reach out to her by emailing ruth@germanschoolphoenix.org.

Most exciting of all, we can’t wait to see you in the Fall! Stay tuned for more updates.

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