Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's Up Germany Wednesday

Birthdays in Germany can be complicated.

The Scientist and Baby Bird on their respective 1st birthdays

There is a German Kultur Tradition here that one can not wish or speak Happy Birthday to someone unless it is on or past their birthday.

This rule is strictly enforced to the point where my German friends, when invited to my birthday party the day before my actual birthday, thought that they understood me incorrectly and showed up the next day (which was a Monday) because it was so unbelievable to them that I would have my party BEFORE my birthday.

This was of course before I knew about this tradition but another dilemma around this has come up. Baby Bird's birthday is coming up. His birthday is during the week (closer to the beginning of the week) which means that normally we would have it the weekend afterward but I have a big concert coming up with dress rehearsals. I don't mind missing rehearsal for my son's birthday but wouldn't it just be easier for all involved if we could have it the weekend before?

I am weighing "logic" vs "when in Rome, do as Romans do." (or aka: How much do I care if they give me blank stares at something I am doing that is strange to them)


Snooker said...

In this case, "Do as Romans do". You will terrify well-meaning Germs who are thinking that you are wishing bad luck upon your son.

J said...

Bird is on the left.

Don't forget, the phrase in Germany is, 'Happy birthday, where's the cake?'.

Are you gonna make bb bake his own cake, cook dinner for everyone and then clean up afterwards (like German tradition dictates)?.

J said...

Part 2:

Do you know that it actually is bad luck to wish someone a Happy Bday before?

C N Heidelberg said...

I agree with Snooker.
Could you do it on the day of? I've even been to a few birthday parties during the week (even of the stay-up-late-drinking variety!) here because the taboo is very, VERY strong.

Blopper said...

Do they really know what day baby's birthday is? If they don't know, they can't say anything.
Only if your hubby is okay with that, of course.

Sarah said...

I agree to tell people his birthday is whenever you want to celebrate it. My mom once had a birthday party for me two months later because we were so busy. no joke, I was 12.

christina said...

That's a tough one. I kind of like the suggestion about lying but that might catch up with you in a couple of years. :-)

If you're inviting Germans then definitely on the day or afterwards, never before. The bad luch vibe is so strong here that people really do freak out about it.