Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

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.

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8 responses to “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

  1. Happy belated birthday!!
    Yes, it is bad luck to say it in advance. That’s why I always knock on wood a lot the day before my bday when the first people start to send their wishes… 😉 but not only in Germany, also in Argentina they believe in that superstition as a student recently told me.
    Giving flowers is common. They were always my favourite part of my birthday (beside the cake!).

    • I’ve asked around, and apparently there are no rules about bad luck befalling me afterwards 🙂 So, danke! Thanks for reading – I really enjoy your blog!

  2. Happy belated birthday!!
    The Germans really are funny about it, aren’t they? I was on holiday on my birthday, and because my boss started her holiday a week after mine and won’t be back for another 2 weeks, so before I left she said “I won’t see you for ages but I can’t wish you a happy birthday!” Eventually she just said “well have a nice day on Monday” – no mention of the dreaded B word (or G word, technically, since the entire conversation was in German).

  3. Pingback: Bleigiessen | Wie sagt man…?·

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