German Culture: Schulanfang

So, I am hoping to start a series in our blog on things that I think are really cool about the German culture that we don’t really do in America. In honor of the beginning of school, I wanted to start with a beginning of school tradition. In Germany, you are six years old when you first go to school. Of course, children here also go to Kindergarten (it is after all, a German word). But you are six years old when you start your first year of “official” schooling. Going to school for the first time is a huge deal. The kids look forward to that day for their whole lives (I know, a whole six years!). The school hosts a big welcoming ceremony in which the older students welcome the new students into the school. Then, the new students have a huge party with friends family, at which they are the honored guest. They receive gifts of school supplies, a great expensive very first backpack and of course, the all coveted, Zuckertüte. It literally translates to mean “sugar bag”, but it is actually a cone.

A giant cone of happiness that is usually as big as the new student and filled with all kinds of goodies. The bounty of a Zuckertüte can yield school supplies, toys, candy, gift cards, and much more. And nowadays, kids don’t receive just one, but usually more than 10 Zuckertüten of various sizes. This year, one of the kids at our church was going to school. Of course, we were so excited and decided to build him a Zuckertüte.

We, of course, filled ours only with CANDY!! And, some fake money from our Kid’s Night at the church. All of the kids wanted to take it home, but we had saved some! After Sunday morning was over, he had received about 13 of these candy-filled cones! We definitely think it is something we should integrate into American culture!!