Oktoberfest and Karneval are two traditional German festivals. Sending children to their first day of school with candy-filled cones, decorating trees for Christmas, and melting lead to tell the future on New Year are popular German traditions.
Karneval, also called Fasching, is a pre-Lenten festival that begins six weeks before Easter, although in some towns, Karneval season starts on November 11. Cities that begin the festival early begin with Weiberfastnacht, or Women's Karneval, when women dress in costumes and symbolically take control for the day. Karnevalsdienstag, or Shrove Tuesday, ends the Karneval season with parades.
Oktoberfest is an annual 16-day folk festival that includes games, parades and beer and was originated with the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony, which all of Munich's citizens were invited to.
Hiding a pickle on a Christmas tree, counting down weeks to Christmas using an Advent wreath and placing shoes outside for Saint Nicholas are German Christmas traditions. The Christmas season in Germany traditionally begins on November 11 with Saint Martin's Day when children parade through the streets carrying lanterns and collect candy.
The Easter tradition of a bunny hiding eggs originated in Germany. Germans celebrate the coming of spring with small Easter trees decorated with dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies and open air Easter markets. In some parts of Germany, people celebrate Easter by lighting bonfires or rolling a large, ignited wooden wheel stuffed with hay down a hill.