List of German Wedding Anniversaries and Their Symbols

A couple of years ago, we celebrated our 25-year anniversary, a.k.a. silver wedding anniversary. In the Holy Roman Empire, a husband would crown his wife with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, hence the silver.

In Germany, we have the following symbols assigned to each anniversary.

The Wedding Anniversary Guide
  • 1st Anniversary: Paper
  • 2nd Anniversary: Cotton
  • 3rd Anniversary: Leather
  • 4th Anniversary: Silk
  • 5th Anniversary: Wood
  • 6th Anniversary: Sugar
  • 7th Anniversary: Copper
  • 8th Anniversary: Tin
  • 9th Anniversary: Ceramics
  • 10th Anniversary: Rose

 

  • 11th Anniversary: Steel
  • 12th Anniversary: Nickel
  • 12 1/2 Anniversary: Parsley
  • 13th Anniversary: Violet
  • 14th Anniversary: Ivory
  • 15th Anniversary: Crystal
  • 16th Anniversary: Sapphire
  • 17th Anniversary: Orchid
  • 18th Anniversary: Turquoise
  • 19th Anniversary: Abalone
  • 20th Anniversary: Porcelain

 

  • 21st Anniversary: Opal
  • 22nd Anniversary: Bronze
  • 23rd Anniversary: Titan
  • 24th Anniversary: Satin
  • 25th Anniversary: Silver
  • 26th Anniversary: Jade
  • 27th Anniversary: Mahogany
  • 28th Anniversary: Carnation
  • 29th Anniversary: Velvet
  • 30th Anniversary: Pearl

 

  • 31st Anniversary: Basswood
  • 32nd Anniversary: Soap
  • 33rd Anniversary: Pewter
  • 34th Anniversary: Amber
  • 35th Anniversary: Canvas
  • 36th Anniversary: Emerald
  • 37th Anniversary: Machalit
  • 37 1/2 Anniversary: Aluminum
  • 38th Anniversary: Fire
  • 39th Anniversary: Sun
  • 40th Anniversary: Ruby

This coming September, we will celebrate our Carnation Wedding Anniversary. The carnation flower in itself has a slightly morbid association in Germany – they often serve  as funeral flowers.

White carnations symbolize not eternal fidelity, but they also represent the nails used at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, its German counterpart ‘Nelke’ not only means carnation, but also clove (as in Gewürznelke).

 

Quote of the Day

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.

– Appendix D of A Tramp Abroad, “That Awful German Language” by Mark Twain –

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