Germany had its own unique way of life and it had a big impact on other cultures. One
influence Germany had on other cultures was its food. Sausage, baked goods, and beer
seem to be the most indigenous food. Most of the sausages can be eaten hot or cold such
as the frankfurter. A few of the sausages, such as Bratwurst, must be cooked and a
few--Schlachtwurst and Touristenwurst--eaten only when cold. Bratwurst was a pork
sausage, usually cooked over an open fire. Schlachtwurst literally means “slaughter
feast”; a pig slaughtering followed by a feast (Hazelton 199). Black Forest Cake,
German Chocolate Cake, and Honey Cake were a few desserts eaten by families that
could afford them. Now these desserts are not only eaten in Germany but in many other
countries as well. Beer and Schnaps were the most popular drinks. They are Germany’s
oldest and best known customs. Beer ranged from light to dark, sweet to bitter, and weak
to strong. Schnaps is a clear brandy now served in countries world wide as well as beer.
Most German food is now cooked and eaten in many different countries.
Although the old-fashioned costumes look picturesque, their style was by no
means beautiful or practical by modern standards (52). The majority of the Germans
were either middle to low class, but each possessed a large number of clothes and they
had clothes for almost any occasion. The typical dowry of a farm girl consisted of eighty
to one hundred skirts, forty pairs of stockings, twenty-five bodices, twenty hoods with
requisite ribbons, and thirty to forty handkerchiefs of silk, wool, calico or cotton. A man
marrying such a girl would marry the wardrobe she would need for the rest of her life
except for the clothes that wore out (52). Men too had a wealth of frocks: for mourning
and old age they had quilted ones, for communion a long waisted black one with
forty-two buttons, and for confession a sililary cut dark blue one with brass buttons. Men
that worked in the fields typically wore a very wide, short blouse open at the neck,
trousers reaching to the knee, long white stockings or linen leggings, low shoes, and a
beret. Women working in the field typically wore white bonnets and a jacket, a white
apron over their full, knee-length skirt, a petticoat peeping out one and a half inches, and
white stockings or leggings (53-54). Hats were worn by almost everyone. Men had three
cornered hats for church, brown or gray felt ones for summer, tasseled fur caps for
winter, and otter fur caps decorated with gold braid and green silk for weddings and
dances (53). The women had a variety of bonnets to fit over the knot of hair on the top of
her head. The Germans made their clothes and shoes last. Shoes were made purposely
on one last so they could be worn one week on one foot and another foot the next week.
This was done so the two leather straps, which were pulled through the buckle evenly.
Colors were not chosen on the basis of whim or personal taste but through specific
directions. Bright red was the symbol for unsullied youth, green was worn by young
married couples, purple stood for middle age, and black was worn by the people of old
age and for mourning. The colors were worn mainly on small hats, on ribbons, and on
the trim of skirts and garters for women. For men, the colors were put on the collar and
shoulder piece (53-54).
Germany had quite a few impacts on other countries. Many of the Grimm
Brothers fairy tales came from Germany. The red bonnets worn by the little Schwalmer
girls became “Little Red Riding Hood.” A major American tune originated in Germany.
“Yankee Doodle” was brought to America by the Hessian Army. German and English
are members of the same language family and a few American words have originated
from German: Schuh meaning shoe, Fisch meaning fish, Hand (self explanatory), good
coming from gut, find came from finden, and Onkel meaning Uncle. These are just a
few German to English words.
Some of the most prominent individuals originated in Germany. A few of the
most popular musicians came from Germany in the 1700’s. Johann Sebastian Bache and
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are two of the most famous composers ever. Both produced
many symphonies and chamber works. Their music was listened to by thousands then,
and is still listened to and enjoyed now. Ludvig Van Beethoven was