German Fall/Autumn traditions

Hello, dear German learners!

A beautiful season has arrived and with it comes a lot of interesting traditions that differ from country to country or even region to region.

Today I would like to present a couple of German fall/autumn traditions that I experienced growing up. Maybe you can add to the list and/or tell us about the traditions in your home country or culture?

1. Erntedankfest

The German Erntedankfest has existed since the 3rd century when people started to thank God for the harvest that was brought in. In Germany, we usually celebrate it on the first Sunday in October.
There are corn labyrinths, wine stands and a lot of fun activities in small and larger cities to celebrate this day.

2. Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit

In Germany, our national holiday celebrations take place on the 3rd of October every year. There are political speeches, concerts and fireworks all over the country to celebrate the German union.

3. Let them fly!

In my family, fall/autumn would always mean that we would take out our dragons and let them fly. With the windy weather, this was always great fun and a treasured childhood memory of mine.

4. Collect chestnuts

Also, a big thing for German kids is to collect chestnuts and create different figures and toys and play with them. I remember various primary school projects where chestnuts and toothpicks were involved, what about you?

5. Martinsumzug

The 11th of November for us always meant to have our self-made lantern ready and go to the Martinsumzug which is a tradition dating back to St. Martin who supposedly shared his coat with a poor man. So on this day, a procession is formed and ‘St. Martin’ leads it through the streets on horseback. After this procession, sweets and treats are enjoyed by everyone. Weckmänner and sit around a fire.

I even had the opportunity of playing St. Martin a couple of times!

6. Sankt Nikolaus

The end of fall for us comes with the Sankt Nikolaus on the 6th of December. Children take out their ‘boot’ on the evening of the 5th of December and the Nikolaus comes at night and fills them with mandarins, walnuts and chocolate, but only if you behaved well during the year!
In the US he is better known as Santa Claus who brings the presents on the 25th of December.

I hope you enjoyed learning about a couple of German fall/autumn traditions, and I can not wait to hear about your experiences and anecdotes!

Have a great rest of your week and an amazing weekend, greetings from sunny, and not at all autumny, Mexico :rofl:



Ich liebe Nikolaus :smiley:!
Thanks, @Lari1108, for sharing those nice traditions. I’ve always thought they make this season nicer and help going through winter :snowflake: :slightly_smiling_face:!


Thank you, @Lari1108 for sharing this list with us. I wished I had something like this when I arrived to Germany.

Sankt Nikolaus is so confusing for me :see_no_evil:. People have told me here that he is not Santa, but he looks like Santa… In Colombia, we have Santa, but we don’t have Nikolaus.

I remember my first year here in Germany. The day of Sankt Nikolaus my roommate made me a boot full of oranges, nuts and chocolate. I was so happy, I sent a picture to my best friend in Colombia, saying that Nikolaus brought me a present. My friend immediately thought a had a new boyfriend called Nikolaus, and started to ask me about this new “guy” giving me presents :joy:. We both laughed so much when I explained her, what was going on.