Category Archives: German Culture & Society

Articles about German culture and society.


Tracht: More than just Lederhose and Dirndl

Tracht (f) is the term for traditional costumes in all German-speaking countries. Interestingly, Trachten (pl) are not that old as they only became popular in the 19th century, a period when the idea of Heimat (f)homeland started to play a more important role in society.

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literary periods in germany

Literary Periods in Germany – Deutsche Literaturepochen

literary periods in germanyAs Germany is known for its literary heritage I thought that it would be interesting for you to learn a bit more about our literary history. To start this series let’s give you a quick overview of the literary periods in Germany.

You should take this as a rough timeline and guide as it is virtually impossible to name an exact year as starting point or end of the individual periods, some of them overlap, too.

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Tiefkühl-Torten – the Swiss Army Knife of the German Kaffeetafel

Tiefkühl-TortenYesterday Germany’s Torten-König (king of tarts) Aloys Coppenrath, co-founder of one of the best-known German companies (at least within Germany) died at the age of 79. He and Josef Wiese founded Coppenrath und Wiese back in 1975.

Aloys Coppenrath came from an old Bäckerfamilie (family of bakers), Josef Wiese who already died in 2009 was a Konditor (confectioner). Their idea was the Schockgefrieren (quick-freeze) of freshly made Torten (tarts) and today Coppenrath und Wiese are the Marktführer (market leader) in Europe with over 2000 Angestellte (employees).

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Gedichte zum Frühlingsanfang – Popular German Poems for the First Day of Spring

popular german poems fruehlingsanfangAs you know, Germany is also often called “Das Land der Dichter und Denker” (the nation of poets and thinkers). And there have been a lot of great poets throughout the centuries who built up a treasure trove of popular poems and stories.

If you checked out my podcast series “Sprichwörtlich Deutsch” on Fair Languages, you also know that often parts of these popular German poems have found their way into everyday language in form of idioms and expressions we still use today, sometimes not knowing that they come from a poem.

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german expressions papst pope

German Expressions around the Pope

german expressions papst pope

Back in 2005 when the German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedikt XVI. the popular tabloid Bild ran a front page with his picture and the title

Wir sind Papst!
We are pope.

And though Germany isn’t entirely a catholic country, it is actually almost 50:50 catholic and protestant (we will talk about that in a couple of posts over the year), it was still kind of a big event for the country. As his Amtszeit (f) term or Pontifikat (n) papacy will come to an end by the end of this month I thought I introduce you to some German expressions around the Pope.

A very popular one is

Da boxt der Papst im Kettenhemd.
lit. The Pope boxes in chain armor.

or in a variation

Da boxt der Papst in Nietenhosen.
lit. The Pope boxes in studded pants.

Though the origin of this expression is not really clear, it seems to be a rather recent one, one could imagine that some of the popes who actually wore armor on paintings could be the inspiration here. The expression is very common and used when Germans want to express that a party or event is pretty wild and fun.

Another expression is

Päpstlicher als der Papst sein.
Being more pontifical than the Pope.

In English one would say “being more Catholic than the Pope”. This expression is often used as a recommendation like

Nun sei mal nicht päpstlicher als der Papst.
Don’t be more Catholic than the Pope

meaning that the other person should not take a situation that serious, going into every little detail and in general being very finicky.

Which brings us to the last expression

Ist der Papst katholisch?
Is the Pope Catholic?

As the answer to this open question is pretty obvious, it can only be answered with yes, you would use Ist der Papst katholisch as a replacement for ja in an answer. A typical situation would be someone asking you

Bist du dir sicher?
Are you sure?

You could answer with

Ist der Papst katholisch?
Of course, I’m sure!

This is a colloquial answer/expression, so you might want to use it with friends, family and close co-workers but probably not with your boss at it might come across a bit offensive.

Now up to you. Do you have popular expressions or sayings around the pope in your country? Leave them in the comments below and share with the rest of the Deutsch Happen community!