Expat Magazine

Celebrating Birthdays in Germany Vs Canada

By Expatgermany @Laurel_Robbins
Celebrating Birthdays in Germany vs Canada

birthday cake

Tomorrow is my birthday and it would be the first time I’m celebrating it in Germany, except that I’ll be in Winchester, England.  But if I was celebrating it in Germany, there are four things that would be different:

1) My German friends might not say “Happy Birthday.” No this is not a case of Germans being cold and isn’t nearly as mean as it sounds.  My German friends may say “Happy Birthday” but alternatively they may also say  “Congratulations.”  I’m not sure exactly why congratulations are in order, since birthdays are not something everyone looks forward to, especially when you get up there in age.  But I guess when you consider the alternative, perhaps saying “Congratulations” is the appropriate thing.  After all, you’ve made it this far.

2) I wouldn’t open any birthday presents or cards before my birthday (but I did anyway).  Yesterday a few  American friends kindly gave me a card, some gluten free goodies (which are not so easy to find in Stuttgart) and a Swabian Cookbook.  I was so touched by their thoughtfulness (thanks so much guys!).  J.P. on the other hand was horrified and insisted on knowing why I had opened everything 2 days before my birthday.  He’s rather concerned that I’ve now brought myself bad luck by doing so and can’t understand my nonchalance about opening birthday presents early.  Let’s hope the German superstition of opening birthday presents before your birthday does not apply to Canadians living in Germany.

3) I wouldn’t have a birthday party. I’m not having a birthday party, but don’t feel sorry for me, it’s  because I’m not organizing one.   In Germany, if you want a birthday party, you organize it yourself.  If you don’t want a big fuss then you don’t organize anything.  I have mixed feelings about this one.  In some ways I like this, you get exactly the size and type of  birthday party you want since you’re organizing it yourself.  On the other hand you’ve got to organize it.   Fortunately I’m not into big birthday celebrations for myself so I’m OK with this but if I were still in Canada my friends would be organizing some kind of birthday event, even if it was just a dinner with a few close friends.

4) I would pay for all my guests. This is what surprised me most about celebrating birthdays in Germany.  The person having the birthday pays for all the guests if they invite them to a restaurant.  This is different than in Canada, where the birthday gal/guy is normally treated by their friends on their birthday.  I learned this a few months ago when we were invited to a German friend’s birthday brunch.  He invited about 30 people and in addition to brunch we all had cappuccinos and did a champagne toast.  I was mortified to learn that he would have to pay for everyone and thought we should at least offer to pay for ourselves.  J.P. insisted that this is how its done in Germany and that it would not be appropriate to offer to pay and that by inviting everyone the birthday guy knew he would be paying for everyone.  I don’t know how much the check came to but I’m sure it would have been over 500€.  Now do you understand why I’m celebrating my birthday in England and not in Germany?

:)

Where would you rather celebrate your birthday?


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Taming Shakespeare

    Taming Shakespeare

    It hardly seemed credible, from what I heard in high school, that anyone would read Shakespeare if it weren’t required. I’m not completely naive, but I do wonde... Read more

    7 hours, 2 minutes ago by   Steveawiggins
    POLITICS, RELIGION, SOCIETY
  • Three Against Two the Tambuka Way

    Western music is based on so-called duple rhythms, patterns of two or multiples of two. There are triple rhythms as well, the waltz for example, but they... Read more

    7 hours, 58 minutes ago by   Bbenzon
    CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY, SOCIETY
  • Downsides of Diet Culture

    Downsides Diet Culture

    Picture of a adorable pug named Biscuit walking toward the camera saying “If I want the Food Police I’ll call Pie-1-1”Today a new blog reader asked me “I’ve... Read more

    8 hours, 34 minutes ago by   Danceswithfat
    DIET & WEIGHT, FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Money, Museums and Men

    Money, Museums

    On the second day of our London jolly, we were planning to take in the view from the Shard, until we realised it was thirty quid a piece. Read more

    8 hours, 57 minutes ago by   Jackscott
    DIARIES, EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Shopping in Sarojini Nagar? Here Are 15 Things You Must Know Before You Go.

    Shopping Sarojini Nagar? Here Things Must Know Before

    Planning to visit Sarojini Nagar and have some questions about it? Check out all 15 questions I have covered in here. 4 of them will help you by the best clothe... Read more

    9 hours, 3 minutes ago by   Shoppingaholic
    HAIR & BEAUTY, LIFESTYLE, SHOPPING
  • A Ripple Conversation With Rob "Blasko" Nicholson

    Ripple Conversation With "Blasko" Nicholson

    Let's start with your name and what you do.Let's have it. - Blasko. I wear many hats, but most commonly I am the bass player for Ozzy Osbourne. Start at... Read more

    10 hours, 28 minutes ago by   Ripplemusic
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • #LondonWalks Walk Of The Week: The Rock'n'Roll Pub Tour With LIVE Music...

    #LondonWalks Walk Week: Rock'n'Roll Tour With LIVE Music #RollingStones Special!

    On Sundays we pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage. You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com. Read more

    10 hours, 31 minutes ago by   Lwblog
    DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL

Magazine