Category Archives: German Traditions

Beethoven’s Ninth with Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl- July 13 & 18

The whole world is widely familiar with the impressive start of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, which is probably the most distinctive four-note motif in music history. Beethovens 9th symphony however is considered Beethoven’s greatest work, if not “the greatest compositions in the western musical canon”.

It is Beethoven’s final complete composition and one, in which voices are being used in a symphony for the very first time. Hence the name “Choral Symphony”. The famous “Ode to Joy”, which follows a poem by Friedrich Schiller, is known all over the world, but it has a much deeper meaning for us Germans. I may say it has become somehow part of our German National Anthem. Especially since the German public radio station Deutschlandfunk has been broadcasting “Ode to Joy” together with the official German National Anthem (“Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”) shortly before midnight since New Year’s Eve 2006.”

But Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is also used as the anthem of the European Union and stands with the other European symbols for the whole of Europe. It also serves as the theme song to the European qualifying of the 2018 World Cup football competition.

On July 13 or 18, you can experience Beethoven’s epic Ninth Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl! Dudamel’s all-consuming love of music drives him to invest every note with meaning and new life. Don’t miss it when he leads Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the first piece he performed as Music Director of the LA Phil.

Tickets are on sale now! http://bit.ly/hb17_Calendar_Beethovenninth 

One lucky CaliforniaGermans reader will have the opportunity to receive One Voucher valid for two guests. The voucher is good for two tickets to a variety of Hollywood Bowl concerts!

Here is how to get the voucher: – All you need to do is send us an email to : californiagermans [at] gmail.com , and put in the subject line: “I am ready for my Hollywood Bowl Voucher”

The first CaliforniaGermans writing us an email as described above, will receive one voucher that is good for two tickets for a variety of Hollywood Bowl concerts not only Beethoven’s 9th Symphony!


Sources: wikipedia, Deutsche Welle,

Credits: LA PHIL

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German May Celebrations in California are Underway

As Germans we are familiar with May 1st as the “Tag der Arbeit”. It’s a National Holiday in Germany and it’s often times also a day filled with protests and demonstrations in the bigger cities. The Union (Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund) is organizing rallies on that day to commemorate the achievements in the labor movement.

But there are also the May 1st traditions that go way back in history like the observation of the Walpurgisnacht (Night of the witches) or the stealing of the village maypole by a neighboring village. I am sure you remember the Maitanz (May Pole Dance). Many of us had to perform one in our Kindergarten years to enchant our parents. I certainly still remember mine or better just the fact that one little boy got terribly entangled in all the bands around the may pole. It’s for sure not as easy a dance as it might look!

Many German clubs and schools in California keep those wonderful traditions alive and invite the public to their annual Maifest (May celebrations).

In the following please find a roundup of what we have heard of:

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Highland Hall Waldorf School invites to their annual May Faire with May Pole Dancing, Native American Pow Wow, Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles and Country Music/Folk Dancing. Lost of Activities are offered as well. There will be live music, storytelling,delectable healthy baked goods and food vendors, exquisite artisan vendors, children’s games, arts and craft-making activities for ALL ages!  Visitors will  be able to enjoy time in our farm, and the Native American Village.

When: Saturday May6 from 10am-4pm , Admission is FREE!

Where: Highland Hall Waldorf School, 17100 Superior Street, Northridge, CA 91325

More Info at http://www.HighlandHallWaldorfMayFaire.com

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The Phoenix Club in Anaheim celebrates its traditional Maifest combined with its Kinderfest on May 7th , 2017. The German American League Clubs will start out the festivities with a parade at 1pm. Lots of activities for children will be offered. Witness the election of the Maikönigin (May Queen)and of course the famous May Pole Dance and much more.

When: Sunday, May 7th from 11am-6pm, Admission $7 (Pre-sale) or $10 at the gate. Children 16 and under are free.

Where: Phoenix club Biergarten, 1340 S. Sanderson Avenue
Anaheim, California 92806

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Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool in L.A. has its May Faire Celebration with May Pole Dancing, Music Performances, Puppet Show, Face painting and much more.

When: Saturday, May 20th from 11am-3pm; suggested donation $10

Where: Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool, 3170 Stoner Ave,Los Angeles, CA 90066

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GISSV German International School in Emeryville has its Multicultural Summerfest on May 20, 2017. There will be a Rummage Sale with finds like German books and more. You can enjoy the International Food Festival and Live Music and Activities for kids of all ages, with arts & crafts, woodworking, yoga, soccer and more.

When: Saturday, May 20th, from 1pm-4pm

Where: 1070 41st Street, Emeryville, CA

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Oakland Nature Friends & Tourist Club celebrates its traditional Maifest with Bavarian Schuhplattler Dancers, the Gruber Family Band and German food, beer and dancing. There is something for everyone of all ages at the Maifest!

When: Sunday, May 7th from 12pm-6pm. Admission: Buy tickets online!  (Kids under 14 are free.)

Where: Oakland Nature Friends, 3115 Butters Drive, Oakland, CA 94602

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Sacramento Turn Verein has its 49th annual Bockbierfest! Experience traditional German Folk Dancing, the Alpentanzer Schuhplattler, a traditional German Choir while you enjoy authentic German food and Bockbierfest Bier.

When: Saturday May 6th from 3pm – midnight. Admission: Buy Tickets online!

Where: Sacramento Turn Verein, 3349 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95816


Image: Courtesy of Highland Hall Waldorf School/ Taylor Myers

Sponsored by www.Adolesco.org

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My Easter Tradition

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MY EASTER TRADITION

Back in the days when I was a little kid and living in Germany, Easter was one of my favorite holidays.  I loved believing in the Easter bunny, which would come out early in the morning to hide eggs, candy, and toys all around the house and backyard.

My family’s tradition consisted of going to church in the morning, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Once the service was over I remember how excited I usually became, knowing there were lots of surprises waiting at home for my sister and I.  My mother was usually the one hiding all the Easter goodies the night before, but when I was little I truly believed that the Easter bunny was doing all the hard work.

At a certain age I knew that my parents were the ones behind everything, but I still didn’t mind hunting for toys and candy.  It was such a blast, especially since we had a three story home with a small yard, so there were lots of hiding spots.  Once all the surprises were collected, us kids usually inspected everything and tested the new toys.

After the first excitement of the hunt eventually subsided, it was time for brunch.  For that, we usually had a big family gathering either at a hotel or restaurant, where a buffet was offered.  It was the perfect solution and suited everybody’s taste.  Also, since we were a group of about ten people, none of our family members had to stand in the kitchen for hours.  My family is actually still holding up that tradition, just nowadays without me since I moved to the United States.

Since I have been living in America, I have been celebrating Easter, if at all, very differently.  My first Easter in the states was back in 2012, when I was living with a family that had two young children.

One year, I remember I prepared Easter baskets for them that were filled with chocolates and small toys.  I left them on the kitchen table with a note, wishing them a Happy Easter while they were out and about.  The next year, I went to a family gathering with them, but it was still not the same as back in my childhood days.

The following years, I wasn’t celebrating the Holiday at all, and if I wouldn’t have seen it marked in my calendar, I would have had no idea what date Easter was that year.  It just felt different for me over here, I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t have such a connection as I had back in Europe growing up.

Last year marked the first time in a while where I had an Easter experience somewhat similar to my childhood days.  You can describe it as the adult version of what the tradition for us kids looked like.  My now-roommate was house sitting at a beautiful home, fully equipped with a pool and hot tub.

Since she introduced a brunch tradition to her friends many years ago, she extended the invite to me, and I was more than happy to accept since I missed the family Easter brunch gatherings.

It was a beautiful Sunday, the sun was shining, and my roommates’ friends and I started arriving at the location one after another.  Entering the house, I could already smell eggs, bacon (that was the time I was still eating meat), and pancakes.

We gathered around the backyard, some people hanging out in a hammock, others in the hot tub, pool, and benches all around, while the two dogs of the homeowners kept roaming around us.

We had a great time talking, eating, and enjoying the sun together until it was time for the annual beer hunt. Yes, my roommate upgraded the traditional egg hunt to a fun-filled beer hunt, where all of us participants received a beer carton and had to find as many beers as would fit into it.

All the while knowing how clumsy I am, especially when it comes to handling fragile items such as glass, I entered this content with caution, but finished with no further incidents.

After all beer bottles were found, all participants sat back outside with their precious findings, looking forward to indulge into the liquid goodies.  I was sitting in the sun, sipping on my drink when I decided it was getting too hot and wanted to move into the shade, of course not without my cargo.

What I did not consider was that my beer carton, which was soaked up on the bottom with water from the pool, had become a little fragile.  I lifted it up, not supporting the bottom with my hands, and sure enough, it made a quick rip and all remaining bottles smashed on the concrete ground.

Everyone was staring very surprised and quietly at the mess I just had created, until some of us were able to digest the shock a little and got up to clean up the glass.  Oh well, since I am not a big drinker anyways I wasn’t too upset I wasn’t able to drink more, but I did feel very bad about the broken glass all over the floor.

My roommate did invite me again to this year’s Easter brunch/ beer hunt, but luckily I will be up in LA this time, hopefully not breaking anything.  However all of you who are celebrating or not celebrating the Holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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sponsored by ADOLESCO.ORG

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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 5: Butterplätzchen

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Butterplätzchen – Butter Cookies

A classic in German Christmas baking is the Butterplätzchen (butter cookie). It’s a favorite for baking with children. They love using cookie cutters in all kinds of shapes to make these most classic Christmas cookie of all and decorate them later. The difference between American and German Christmas butter cookies might not only be the recipe but also the size. Usually the German variation is thinner and much smaller in size than its US counterpart.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250 g – flour
  • 200g – butter
  • 100g – Baker’s sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp – rum
  • grated skin of one lemon

Ingredients for the decoration:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • for decorating: chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar sprinkles or pearls, smarties , coarse sugar, etc.

Prepare a shortcrust pastry ( Knetteig) by sifting the flour on a board, adding the sugar and the butter cut in little flakes on top. Make a little depression in the middle of the heap of the flour mixture and add the egg yolk, rum and grated lemon.

Blend the ingredients by first chopping them with a large knife, then kneading them to a smooth dough with your hands.

Form a big round ball out of the dough, wrap it in parchment paper and let it rest for about 30 min in the refrigerator.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm weihnachtsbackereibutterkekspixabaythin. Cut out different forms with your cookie cutters. Place the various cookie shapes on a lined baking sheet, and bake them for about 356-392 Fahrenheit in the pre-heated oven for about 8-10 minutes. They should look golden brown.

Before you start decorating your cookies, place the cookies on a cooling rack. Then whisk the egg yolk used for decorating with the 1 tbsp milk and brush the cookies with a thin layer. Decorate them with chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar pearls or coarse sugar.

…and you are ready to enjoy one of the most traditional German Christmas Cookies!

Happy Forth Sunday of Advent!

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Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com


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German Christmas Cookie Challenge – Weihnachtsplätzchen

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Weihnachtsbäckerei

The holiday season is officially upon us. Next week is Thanksgiving and on Saturday, November 27, is already the First Sunday of Advent and we light our first candle on our advent wreath!

But, hold on…! We need some tasty German Christmas Cookies to complete our German ‘Vorweihnachtszeit’ (pre-Christmas) traditions.

So we thought of having a German Christmas Cookie Challenge!! …Are you in?

Send us your authentic and most loved German Christmas Cookie recipe and be featured here on our website!

Do you have a special recipe that makes you remember those cozy candlelight evenings with family and friends back in Germany? We need it!

Help us bring the comfort and warmth of the beautiful ‘Adventszeit’ (Advent Season) to all the CaliforniaGermans expats here in California! There is nothing like the scent of freshly baked cookies bringing Christmas spirit into our homes.

Send in your favorite German Christmas Cookie recipe to californiagermans(AT)gmail.com 

Every Friday until December 23, the night before German Christmas, we will feature a cookie recipe that is special to a CaliforniaGermans at “Weihnachtsbäckerei” on our website.

To start off the official Christmas Baking Season, here is a Christmas favorite of my family: Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents), a recipe passed down from my grandmother.

Vanillakipferl – Vanilla Crescents

Ingredients:

250 g flour (add a pinch of baking powder)

vanillekipferl-1824345__340125 g sugar

3 egg yolks

200 g unsalted butter

125 g almond flour

50 g hazelnut flour

Bourbon Vanilla Extract

  1. Combine all the ingredients to a dough by hand not the mixer. We call it ‘Knetteig’. Start out with the flour to which you add the almond flour, hazelnut flour and the sugar. Then add the butter (should be at room temperature and cut into little thin pieces) and then add the egg yolks and some Bourbon Vanilla extract. You can start mixing it all with a fork but once the dough gets heavier it’s easiest to just get in with your hands to work a nice smooth dough.
  2. Put the dough to ‘rest’ into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes cut a chunk off the main dough to make a long 1 inch role which you then cut into 2 inch pieces. (Repeat that step for the whole dough) Take each 2 inch piece and roll it into a crescent with the ends thinning out towards the end. Place your crescents on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350-390 °F
  4. Then turn the still warm Vanillekipferl in Vanilla Sugar , and your first German Christmas cookie is ready to eat!

Happy Holidays!


Image: Pixabay.com

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