Einheit 5.8 (online)
Most people in Germany consider their birthday an important day. No matter the age of the person celebrating a birthday, there is always a birthday cake with candles on top. Blowing out the candles means good luck for the coming year.
Children usually invite their friends and relatives for their birthday. Everybody brings a present, but it doesn’t have to be big or expensive. The kids spend the afternoon playing games. Sometimes they also go together to the swimming pool or the skating rink.
For teenagers, the 16th and the 18th birthday are especially important birthdays. With 16, they are allowed to get a driver’s license for a moped and they are allowed to drink beer. With 18, they are considered full adults; now they are allowed to vote. Young adults often celebrate their birthday with a larger party on a Saturday, either at home, at a club or bar, or at a rented hall. It is also customary to start celebrating the evening before so that at midnight, when the actual birthday starts, everybody can toast to the person having the birthday. This is called “reinfeiern” (to celebrate “into” the birthday).
Adults celebrate their birthdays at home with friends or go out to a restaurant. It’s about having a good meal in good company, sometimes there is dancing involved. At the workplace it is customary for the person having the birthday to either treat their friends (to a drink) or to bring something to eat (cake, etc.) for everybody. Adults often celebrate their “round” birthdays (30, 40, 50, …) in a more elaborate way.
Older people usually celebrate their birthdays earlier in the day, by inviting friends and family for lunch at a restaurant or for coffee and cake in the afternoon.
In Germany, people never wish someone a “happy birthday” before the actual day of the birthday. It is considered bad luck and Germans are quite serious about this. On the actual day of the birthday, people say “Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!” or “Happy Birthday!”. They often also sing the “Happy Birthday” song (either in English or in German: “Zum Geburtstag viel Glück”) or a different German birthday song called “Viel Glück und viel Segen”.
Please work through the following presentation to learn about the dative case.
Übung 2: Wer? Wem? Was?
Geburtstage in Deutschland. Watch the following video from Deutsche Welle. Then answer the following questions.
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