3 Things You Should Not Do on Good Friday in Germany

Social Media in Germany is full of debates again about our Good Friday (Karfreitag) rules, and what we can do and not do. In general, Good Friday is just one of a few public holidays, when silence needs to be observed. See Wiki for a list of ‘Quiet Holidays in Germany’.

The quiet days vary from state to state, and the state of Berlin seems to be the most relaxed about its Feiertagsruhe.

The following public places will be closed to observe this rule of silence:

Discos, clubs, sport events, open markets, circuses, fairs, theatres, opera houses, game centers, promotional events;

On a personal level, you may not:

  1. Dance to any kind of music in the public
  2. Wash your car
  3. Move to another location

… and if you are in Bavaria, you should most definitely not air out your bedding on Good Friday.

On a personal note, many years ago, we had traveled to northern Bavaria to visit my side of the family. We stayed at my brother’s house, and I saw the need for a good shake of the bedding which had not been used for many months. A neighbor chided me from across the street, “Maria, das macht man doch nicht am Karfreitag! Das bringt den Tod ins Haus!” (Don’t do this on Good Friday, it will bring death into your home!) I gave the bedding a final shake, and brought it in.

This was so strange after having just moved here from a country like Japan, where so many things are 24/7, and religious beliefs become a medley on holidays anyway.

There is little more contradictory than superstitious beliefs from pious country folk on Good Friday.

Fasching 2019 in Oberursel

Hold on to your neckties today, because today’s Weiberfastnacht is the official beginning of the final culmination of Fasching. Dates vary every year (based on the Easter holiday), but these final days of celebrations always go from Thursday until Tuesday. This makes it six days of partytime for some.

On today’s Weiberfastnacht, ladies may cut off your tie. Wherever you are.

Many public and private parties are taking place, so there will be more random police checks on the roads this weekend.

Fasching in Oberursel

On Sunday, 3 March, take your children to the Faschingsparade in downtown Oberursel. The starting time for the parade is always 14:11.

For some pointers on what to do or what to bring, read my previous post Fasching Parade Oberursel.

Recently, Jen from simplegermany put together a very detailed guide on Carnival and Fasching in Germany. It combines in-depth up-to-date research as well as personal experience.
See for yourself:

German Garden Plots near the Tracks

One of my expat acquaintances pointed out how abject these slum areas looked along the S-Bahn line going into Frankfurt. She saw little huts perched right up to the tracks, with laundry fluttering in the wind, and people sitting outside in their makeshift lounge-chairs. She felt so sorry for them and asked me why the state of Germany could not provide better housing. Little did she know that Germans do this for fun on the weekends!

Coming from the Far East, my acquaintance expected Germany to be full of well-to-do people, such as Benz drivers and comfortable city apartment dwellers. These garden slums, sitting right next to a metropolitan city, would have been torn down in Asia long time ago. Tearing down the past is done rather quickly in Asia. Everything new going up appears mostly in white, gray, or chrome structures.

One of my good friends has a little hut on a rented garden plot outside our small city. Her plot looks very nice and well-cared for. It is called a Schrebergarten and in its early stage was only meant to supply food for all (especially after the war). I had heard that it was mostly used by the local train company employees and for them special stops were made along the tracks. Employees and their families could get off and did not have far to walk to get to their plot.

Nowadays people use it to get away from the apartment in the city, raise their own vegetables, plant flowers, throw little parties, and all that for as little as € 100 a year plus utilities. The new tenant has to buy the previous tenant’s hut, though.

There are other stipulations: 1/3 of the plot must be used for planting vegetables, 1/3 for flowers, and 1/3 can be used for leisure such as BBQ parties. There are meetings to attend, letters of admonishment to be written to non-abiding plot tenants, monthly cleaning schedules to be distributed to all tenants, etc. This is Germany in its fullest bureaucratic glory of telling people how to use the land. But nobody complains. This is the way it has always been and changes in Germany are slow.

To learn more about this German passion for gardening, read this Spiegel article German Garden Ghettos