The latest from ConU German, straight from the TAs
The changing color of leaves indicate that autumn has arrived! In North America, houses are starting to be decorated with spooky ornaments and jack-o’-lanterns. As October 31st is approaching, children are preparing their costumes for a night of trick-or-treating and adults are preparing for the best party of the season, Halloween. We go pretty crazy for this day and even some people think it should an official holiday, but North America is not the only one who celebrates the night of the dead. Today we will look out at how Germany celebrates Halloween and haunted places to see!
Halloween is a relatively new holiday celebrated among germans. It was first introduced in the 1990’s and has been increasing in popularity ever since. On Halloween you can hear children say "Süßes oder Saures!" door to door. The popularity of this spooky holiday is mostly due to americanization. Some Germans are not happy with Halloween being so popular because it resembles St. Martin’s Day (Martinstag), a holiday that requires children to go door to door and recite poems or texts for treats. Despite the oppositions, Halloween does not seem to be leaving anytime soon.
With Halloween come places that are haunted. Germany has several locations which are believed to be haunted. The first stop we shall make is at Heidelberg, Southwestern Germany. One for the scary-vacation seekers is the Hexenturm (Witch Tower). This particular tower was made in the medieval era to imprison thieves. It was later used during the Witch hunting era (1450-1500). The tower was named in 1650 to represent the sufferance of women accused of witchcraft. The tower was partly destroyed during the Nine Year war in the 1600’s and then rebuilt in the 20th century. It is now part of the University of Heidelberg. Not too far from there is a Nazi amphitheater, which is also believed to be haunted. Many visitors say to have heard crying and claim to have seen ghostly apparitions. Legend has it that on moonless nights there is a higher risk of seeing deadly spirits.
Another creepy location is the Kent/ Waldniel Hoster School in Schwalmtal, North Rhine- Westphalia. The school and church was built in 1913 and was made for boys with mental disabilities. When the Nazi regime took over Germany, most of the monks that were ruling the place were criminally charged and removed from the institution. The school became an sanatorium for children (Kinderfachanstalt). A lot of disabled children were euthanized and tortured. Since 1991, the institution has been abandoned and there are rumors saying that laughs, screams and cries of children are often heard in the hallways.
Have a nice Halloween!
A Little list of Halloween Vocabulary
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