TOP 10 TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS IN GERMANY

Germany is perhaps one of the most exquisite countries in the world that has laid the foundation of embarking heritage, culture and tradition in the form of various festivals throughout the year. Ever since the New Year brings a change in our calendars, natives and people from far and wide get excited for the countless number of festivals that start to get in line with utmost preparation and never-ending enjoyment. These festivals highlight unity and significance since they draw people from all four corners of the globe – cordially supposed to be an everlasting experience and Germany’s crowning achievement.

Mentioned below are the top ten traditional and religious festivals in Germany which are probably responsible for creating uproar and a maddening frenzy across the world. These festivals will give you a chance to catch up for old times’ sake with your friends and family, and would also allow you to dwell and dive into German culture until your head is brimming with its history and grandeur. Any guesses?

1) THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL:

The Berlinale, conveniently called as The Berlin International Film Festival emerged in 1951 and since then, has been one of the most significant and highly celebrated events in Berlin, Germany. However, it was not until 1978 that Berlin began to mark it annually on the world’s social calendar, thus making it one of the most respectably engaged festivals in Germany. The Berlinale showcases at least 400 different genres of films annually, mostly which are International in nature and open to the entire public since its tickets are sold quite feasibly over the internet.

2) THE OKTOBERFEST:

There are only three things that come to our minds whenever we see or read Oktoberfest out loud – beer, dirndl and lederhosen. The Oktoberfest, celebrated in Munich, is perhaps one of the most important festival that is awaited eagerly in Germany by local natives and of course, by people who plan on touring to the country especially for the event. The Oktoberfest emerged in 1810 in order to embark the culture of Bavaria and celebrate an entirety of 16-18 days for the purpose. These 17 or 18 days spread from the last week of September to the third of October or its first weekend – probably in time for the German Unity Day.

The festival involves a whole lot of beer consumption apart from devouring a variety of typical Bavarian delicacies such as the Hendl, Knodel, Brezen and Wurstl. In many parts of Germany, the common natives still adhere to the name of Wiesn (Wiese means grasslands) instead of calling it the ‘Oktoberfest’ which was the first place where the festival was originally held. The Oktoberfest is highlighted by a significant dress code which involves millions of women wearing the dirndl and the men wearing lederhosens or bundhosens (knee-bound breeches) with pride.

3) THE FRANKFURTER BUCHMESSE:

Apparently, Germany has been able to pay attention to all kinds of art there is in the world. At Leipzig from October 11 to 15th this year, you will get a chance to witness the literary giants alive – right there, in the open, in front of you. These five days have been on the social calendar ever since it emerged and allows our enthusiasts to welcome their favourite authors and graphic novelists. There are different exhibits and it is open to all through registrations. You even have a chance to exhibit your work for the first time. If you are a fiction or a non-fiction pursuer – it does not matter, since the Frankfurter Buchmesse is open to all kinds of literary work, and you can be a part of it.

4) THE RICHARD WAGNER FESTIVAL:

The Richard Wagner Festival, also known as the Bayreuth Festival or the Bayreuther Festspiele in German has been accustomed to showcasing Wagner’s best cyclical operas since 1876. The festival had been inaugurated by Wagner himself and had been quite unsuccessful in its initial years due to corruption. However, the festival embarks on Wagner’s self-composed works, which have been attended by the likes of King Ludwig II and Friedrich Nietzesche, both of which hold immense importance in the festival’s establishment. Wagner’s gigantic and flamboyant works, Der Ring des Nibelungen’ and ‘Parsifal’ are mostly showcased in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in Baureuth annually – the seats of which are sold out years before the actual performances.

5) FESTIVAL-MEDIEVAL:

Apart from a number of historical and medieval festivals celebrated in the entirety of Europe, the Festival-Medieval owes its importance to the authenticity of the showcased medieval time period, thus causing it to stand out. This three day festival is exactly what you need to catch up on those old times when knights, jousting, archery and hunting for birds were at par with the medieval life. This festival allows you to pitch your tents in the middle of a mock battlefield and enjoy folk or medieval rock music in one of the most contemporary music festivals in Selb, Germany.

6) THE ROCK AM KING AND THE ROCK IM PARK:

The 19 century was such a glorious year for kick starting several music festivals. If you are an ardent lover of rock music, you are going to love the Rock Am King (Rock at the Ring) and the Rock Im Park (Rock in the Park) music festivals which are held in June at Mendig and Nuremberg, respectively, and at the same time for three days. The line-ups of musicians are almost the same and interchangeable so the first line-up performing on the airbase at Mendig on the first day might be the one to perform the exact same number at Zeppelinfield in Nuremberg on the following day. Since the festivals engage in all kinds of rock genres, people from all over the world keep an eye out and book their tickets long beforehand.

7) KARNEVAL, FASCHING OR THE FASNACHT:

Inaugurated in the early times and celebrated in different parts of Germany according to different customs, the Karneval or Fasching or Fasnacht are the names given to the German carnival or the madri gras in the country. This festival is carried out in different parts of Germany simultaneously from the 11th of November at 11:11am and indulges in a public street costume parade which can be heinous and humourous at the same time.

The different names owe to different types of celebrations, with the major parties being executed on Rose Monday, Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday in different parts of Europe. In Germany however, all three days have a lot of importance, but some of the most important yet biggest cultural parades occur on Carnival Sunday or Schoduvel in Braunschweig from the 13th century to date. Many people also fast in this festival and refrain from devouring meat and dairy products alike.

8) INTERNATIONAL DIXIELAND FESTIVAL DRESDEN:

Inaugurated in the late 20th century, the International Dixieland festival Dresden is one of the biggest music festivals that embarks on performances related to jazz in parades and on stages in Dresden. This music festival is also celebrated in all of the Europe, usually from the mid of May for an entire week.

9) AFRICA FESTIVAL, WURZBURG, GERMANY:

Apart from the jazz and rock music festivals that are badly awaited since the start of the year, the Africa Festival in Wurzburg is also one of the grand music festivals that are celebrated annually in the month of May. This festival features engaging musical artistes from different parts of Africa for an entire spread of four whole days who would get to perform on only four stages in Wurzburg. This music festival allows you to indulge in African pop culture amidst other forms of music, and also gives you a chance to hum along to the dancers, singers, composers and other musical performers on stage.

10) GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS:

The Marche de Noel, Christkindlmarkt or the Weihnachtsmarkt are german names of German Christmas markets which involve little stalls and several other modes of attractions for the German community throughout the country. Initially, German Christmas Markets were established in Berlin, but slowly, this practice of good cheer was spread far and wide to all parts of the country such as Frankfurt, Dresden and Cologne to Europe, especially at the time of Advent.

These markets stay in place for around four weeks, allowing people to have a taste of vintage Germany in the form of wine, beer and other specialties. Apart from stalls dedicated to seasonal items, food and beverages, there are stalls and quaint stages now reserved only for performances such as traditional dancing and singing.

If there is one country that has done apt justice to the arts, it’s Germany. With over 10,000 festivals to be celebrated across the country annually - mostly about music, culture, dances, films and movies, wine and beer, and dances - you would think there is no end to this madness once the year starts to proceed.

by Muhammad Abdullah


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