Germans really, really, really will not wish you ‘happy birthday’ if it is any time before the date of your actual birthday. It’s extraordinary bad luck, apparently. My birthday was on Sunday and we had friends over on Saturday night. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I noticed that none of the Germans would even say the word ‘birthday’. I tried tricking them into it, but nothing worked. Then, once it was midnight, and therefore officially Sunday, we were allowed to sing. I pointed out afterwards (rather triumphantly) that it still wasn’t technically my birthday, since we are 6 hours ahead of EST. There was a moment of silence, then: “Well, it’s your bad luck, not ours.”
I don’t know if this is a German thing, a European thing, or something that Americans should really start doing, but it seems to be tradition here to give birthday flowers. And it’s a tradition that I like very much!
Thank you Ingrid, Rachel + Co., and everyone else I got to hang out with this weekend! It rained and we got to follow some strict rules and eat lots of cake: a very German way to spend my first birthday in Germany.