Take it easy, Santa: All about… Germany {a cultural project}

“All about…” is a series of culturally-driven posts by guest writers who have lived, worked, or studied in a culture different than that of central Pennsylvania. These essays are not comprehensive cultural guides; rather, their purpose is to expose misunderstandings, clarify stereotypes, and highlight the similarities between familiar and unfamiliar cultures. This week’s post is…

Fasnaughts and King Cake: Pre-Lenton Traditions in Central PA

For us in south-central Pennsylvania, the day before Lent is known as Fasnaught Day, a tradition which we celebrate along with parts of Germany, Switzerland, and the Alsace region of France.  In times past, these traditional doughnuts were made to clear the kitchen of sugar and lard prior to the fasting season of Lent. However,…

Friday Photo: Toothpaste Mustard

Let’s assume that you don’t speak German, or at the very least, speak it fluently.  Then you would be as surprised as I was last week whenever I saw two brightly-colored tubes on my kitchen table and was told that they were not filled with toothpaste.  The mind spins: “Süßer senf”: a phrase intended to…