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).


Glass Recycling in Germany

Occasionally, I can hear the crashing and scrunching sound of dumped glass when the recycling truck stops in our neighborhood.

In general, we get to sort our glass in three different color containers – white, green, and brown. And as good Germans, many of us follow this rule. For years, we had been instructed to separate the caps and lids from the glass (caps and lids are meant for the yellow plastic trash container).

Now I have noticed this fairly new instruction:

New regulation for glass recycling

Bitte Flaschen und Gläser mit Verschluss einwerfen = Please deposit bottles and jars with tops.

In the beginning, it took us months to remember to take the caps off at home. At times,  one could observe people unscrewing bottles and jars in front of the container. Now we are supposed to throw the whole thing in. Does this make sense?

In my former home state of Bavaria, recycling is even more complex. Beer bottle caps are meant for the aluminum trash bin, jar jam lids go into the plastic trash.

On the other hand, some newcomers to Germany might not realize that e.g. yogurt jars and some soda cans are sold with a deposit. Please check the cans and jars for its deposit symbol (somewhere near the bar code). I know of people who have literally thrown their money into the bin, over the years. I have done it myself… It took me about four weeks to notice the deposit symbol on a soda can (American brand).

Any bottle/jar/plastic bottle with the Grüner Punkt symbol goes into the trash, again sorted by plastic and glass.

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