German Thanksgiving

German Thanksgiving

While Germany does not have the same Thanksgiving traditions, it does have a fall festival when people give thanks for the harvest.  Called the Erntedankfest, or the "Harvest Thanks Festival," it is a more religious event than is its American cousin.  It also is an earlier event, usually taking place on the first Sunday of October.  

Often the event starts with a parade to the local church.  Farmers and their families walk with items from their harvest or even festoon floats with goods from the fields.  In wine regions, grapes, grape leaves, and bottles of new wine may grace the floats.  At church there is a service of thanks.  Afterward there may be a fest tent with music, dancing, and of course Bier and Wein.  The guest of honor often is the Erntekönigin, or harvest queen. She may wear a crown and a sash and usually is the daughter of one of the local farmers.

It is not quite the large secular bacchanalian festival of football and food as in the States.  But Erntedankfest is yet one more example of how Bavarians like to make a party out of almost any event. 

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