“I know what Germans are. They are funny people. They are always choosing someone to lead them in a direction they don’t want to go to.”
This is not a post directed at quenching all of your German stereotypes. Most of them are quite flattering, so I for one would really like to keep it that way. As for the rest, the unflattering ones, ah well, you can’t have the cake and eat it, right?!
I’m not entirely sure what direction this post is going to take (and since I rarely edit, which you may have noticed, I won’t know until I finish it), so bear with me.
Even though, I’m designing this post to have the least overall educational value possible, I really can’t get by without one of those boring pull-down maps. If you are afraid a quick look at this map might reduce your remaining brain capacity or even worse drudge up long repressed memories about boring yourself to sleep in 9th grade world geography, you have my permission to shut your eyes firmly and scroll down very quickly.
Notice how small the state of “Bayern” is compared to the rest of Germany? That’s “Bavaria” our own German “Texas” (for all you American readers). This is where all the Bier, Bratwurst and Lederhosen fun is to be had. The rest of the country is basically just a useless appendage (similar to Paris and France).
[For all of you interested in tidbits of personal information about myself, I hail from the overpopulated state of “Nordrhein-Westfalen”, which is probably most famous for it’s “Karneval”-celebration, but we’ll get to that later]
The ultimate thing anybody visiting any state of this country has to be aware of, is that soccer to the average German is not a sport or a pass-time or something as idle as a passion. It’s a religion.
[sidenote: If you think you recognize a certain raised arm gesture from the black and white TV era of 1939 – 9145, let me assure you, it’s not the same thing. We tried our luck with an odd little man from Austria once and we all agree that it might not have been our slickest move, historically speaking]
If this reminds you of a friendly game of Quidditch (c’me on Harry Potter fans, I know you know what I’m talking about!), well, let’s just say don’t be fooled by appearances. There might not be a lot of forbidden spells going around, but things can get quite heated up at times. Don’t believe me? Well, you asked for it:
Granted, this isn’t a German stadium. I think it’s Croatian. Also I believe the visiting team might be English. So I’ve taken some creative liberties. Don’t we all?
[sidenote: Bengalo fires are forbidden in German Soccer Stadiums, which doesn’t mean they are not used, it just means that the YouTube material on them is pretty slim]
Where was I? Yes, soccer. Apart from the obvious stadium frenzy, which in itself might have a cult like appearance, a lot more goes into this religious devotion to the God that is soccer around these parts.
Depending on where you live the design of your home might not be up to you.
Blue and white isn’t your colour of choice? Well tough luck. Move to the next town over and try to deal with yellow and black if you prefer that.
But it doesn’t stop there. I don’t think I have to mention that you can get married in stadiums or buried on their own personal graveyards and that many a believer in soccer has named his or her first child after one of the famed players.
No, no, no. All of this is just embellishment. Forget the unspoken law of not wearing the wrong colour combination in the wrong town or not (under any circumstances) divulging high risk information (such as that you live two towns over). Never mind all of that.
Soccer reaches out into the most sacred of sacred to us Germans and touches the most holy of holy: Our cars!
I bet you thought it was Mercedes and Beemer cruising all the way on our famed German “Autobahn” (largely without speed limits! American teens always love this part!). Right?
[Out of consideration for your eardrums, I would advise you to move your audio settings to low before watching this clip on “how to pass a truck – German style”.
Well, not if you are a devoted servant to the great God of soccer it isn’t!
Although I’m realize that the majority of you isn’t fluid in German, I think you might enjoy this educational clip on dangers of sporting the wrong colours in the wrong town at the wrong time (please jump to 0.24 to avoid unnecessary and completely useless German banking information).
So now that we’ve all agree that soccer is indeed God around these parts, let me finish up this part of my completely partial view of Germany with some impressions from our greatest religious holiday: The 2006 soccer world cup in Germany!
And it wasn’t just the Germans partaking in this religious ritual either. We had pilgrims from all over the world join in on our festivities.
Now before you get the idea that Germans are extremely religious and don’t know how to let loose and have some fun, let me introduce you to the insanity that is “Karneval”.
Karneval has it all:
The music that has you swinging on the dance floor:
Parades (including floats, candy, costumes and drunks):
Young girls in short skirts tumbling around on stages (I think the American readers would refer to them as cheerleaders):
And parties in the street (resembling Woodstock, obviously with a better soundtrack and less skin)
Oh and did I mention this craziness lasts a total of four days? That’s right. You heard me. Four. Days. Now who’s overworked, a stickler to rules and doesn’t know how to have a good time?
But we don’t stop there. Oh no! About two weeks after Halloween’s passed and you are still recovering from the ongoing sugar high in the states, Germans decide to celebrate with a night of lanterns, parades, bonfires, singing and yes: Candy.
And yet, Germany is much more than beer, lederhosen, bratwurst, karneval, soccer and St. Martin.
But that, dear fellow travellers, is another journey.
For now, let us welcome Sideshow Bob and his views on Germans to take us out: