5 ways to make the most of spring in Germany
Can you hear the lambs baah-ing as they gamble on furry little legs? Spring is officially here. If you’re inspired by the returning sunshine, here are some of the best ways to celebrate the seasons changing in Germany this year.
Spring in Germany
No season feels like turning over a new leaf quite as much as springtime. As the season of new beginnings commences, the sun tentatively removes its hat and awakens Germany’s crocuses, magnolia trees and daffodils to bloom after their months-long winter slumber.
Weather and festivities throughout spring in Germany bring new inspiration and a wealth of activities to dip your still-a-little-chilly toes into. But when does spring officially begin and end in Germany? And how do the Germans recognise the coming of the vernal season?
When is spring in Germany?
Spring begins on a different day each year in Germany, but the first day of spring usually occurs around the third week of March. The average temperature during spring in Germany is 7,6 degrees celsius, ranging from a chilly average of 3,8 degrees in March to 12 degrees in May.
While meteorologists may define spring as the months of March, April and May, it’s not unusual to have flurries of snow as late as April. This means it is wise to not get too enthusiastic as soon as the sun pops back out in March. Suitable springtime attire in Germany consists of layers, a light scarf, jumper, jacket and perhaps most importantly, an umbrella.
Some good news: the spring months pack a punch when it comes to public holidays in Germany (Feiertage). Though the 16 German states have their own holidays, many of the Feiertage recognised nationwide fall during April and May, meaning that it can feel like every second week has an extra day off!
Germany in March
In most of northern Germany, your winter jacket might be useful for the entirety of March. While the temperatures get slowly warmer as the month goes on, the days also get slowly longer. The last Sunday in March is when Germany turns the clocks forward for Daylight Savings, meaning sunny evenings soon welcome after-work walkers meandering along as the red sky turns to night - a shepherd’s delight.
Germany in April
Again, you’d be a bit of a fool to think April 1 brings unwavering denim-jacket weather to the federal republic, which may come only after the second or third week of April. But with it, April does bring another bounty of Feiertage, this time surrounding Easter celebrations. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are all public holidays in Germany, allowing some well-deserved days off work to eat childlike amounts of chocolate.
Spring activities in Germany
Now that you’re braced for the elements, it's time to think about the best spring activities that Germany offers, beyond eating copious amounts of stout, ghostly Spargel…
1. Visit one of Germany’s spring festivals
The less well-known, sober-by-comparison sister of Oktoberfest, Frühlingsfest (spring festival) is a staple of the German springtime calendar. Though Frühlingsfeste happen all over Germany, Munich and Stuttgart hold the biggest events in the country.
Hosted on the same, infamous Theresienwiese as Oktoberfest, Munich’s Frühlingsfest boasts fairground rides, flea markets, dancing performances, sausages and of course, beer. Dealings in Stuttgart are much the same, and as with Oktoberfest, traditional garb is encouraged at both events.
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2. Check out the cherry blossom
For just a couple of weeks in April or May, blossom trees across the country birth beautifully delicate, frilly and fabulously pink blooms. The cherry blossoms of Germany are a tradition which was exported from Japan, with many countries across the world gifted the plants from Nippon during the 1990s.
In Europe and Germany, there are a number of top spots from which you can admire the rosy arrival of cherry blossom petals. In Berlin, the Wall Trail (Mauerweg) makes for a good visit, while Bonn’s Heerstrasse offers spectacular cherry blossom views on a quaint street lined with houses.
3. May Day demonstrations and celebrations
May 1, or erster Mai is one of the many public holidays which fall during the springtime in Germany. Though the holiday has many unique historical origins, it is presently celebrated as Labour Day in Germany.
Today, thanks to the city’s history, May Day events are most prominent in Berlin. In the years before and shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Kreuzberg neighbourhood was characterised by artist squats and a dependable punk scene. Squatter battles with police came to a head with riots and demonstrations on May 1, 1987.
From then on the march in Kreuzberg was christened the Revolutionäre 1. Mai Demo (Revolutionary May 1 demo) and as its slogan adopted a quotation from one of the most famous women of German history, Rosa Luxemburg, “Die Revolution ist großartig, alles andere ist Quark” (The revolution is magnificent, everything else is quark.)
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4. Read Frühlings Erwachen
Reading fiction seasonally can be an excellent way to connect with the imagined world in which you are a visitor and add another, more tangible dimension to your reading experience. So why not take the spring months as an opportunity to find a good park bench and appreciate one of Germany’s most famous literary works, Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening)?
A foundational text in modern German theatre, Frank Wedekind’s 1906 play tells the story of a group of teenagers as they navigate sexually repressive provincial life in late-19th century Germany. Not for the faint-hearted, the bildungsroman play deals with some heavy topics. Once heavily censored, today Wedekind’s text is one of the most influential and well-known among German thespians.
5. Plant a seed for summer
Summer is the season of Kleingärten, balcony boxes and attempting to hone your stubbornly shy green thumb. But by the time June has arrived, if the balcony is looking suitably sad and you’re feeling inspired enough by the weather to do something about it, a trip to the Baumarkt to get supplies might reveal the disappointing reality that you should have planted your cucumber, strawberry or sunflower seeds back in April.
If you’re hoping to get anywhere near the balcony paradise of your wildest dreams, making that trip earlier is a wise idea. Plan in advance which seeds should be planted in which spring month, maybe even sprouting them indoors so that by the time June rolls around all you have to worry about is who to invite round and what to drink while you soak up the balcony sunshine amid your baby sunflowers.
How do you celebrate springtime in Germany?
Are there any additional activities that you think are a must for making the most of the spring in Germany? Let us know in the comments!
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