Germany: 25 and Unmarried

While I was living in Denmark I found quite fascinating the traditions they had for key birthdays such as 25th and 30th, and more specifically for those unmarried at that stage in life. If by your 25th birthday you aren’t married (doesn’t matter if you are in a relationship or not) on your 25th Birthday you can expect to be covered in cinnamon in the most imaginative ways, in the city maybe they’ll tie you to a pole and just throw cinnamon powder at you, or just chase you around or wait for you and then scare you to death, or in the countryside they may be a bit more creative and do like this poor guy

My point is, they are quite creative and it was somehow quite shocking and refreshing at the same time, as in Spain we don’t  have anything like that.
Anyhow, when I moved to Germany, I found out the have something similar over here too (it changes slightly from region to region but the idea is the same all over).
The only difference is that guys and gals suffer different “punishment” on their 25th and 30th birthdays if they’re unmarried (still doesn’t matter whether you are in a relationship or not ^^).
If a guy is 25th and still not married, in Germany he’ll be considered an “old sock” (alte Socke), so he will be marked by a garland of (old) socks (Sockenkranz) will be hung all around your house so everyone knows. But that isn’t all, as he follows the garland he will have to down a drink…and the only ones that can help are your family, so let’s hope you have a small house, a big family or a really high tolerance 😉
On the other hand, if you are a mädchen and unmarried at 25, you’ll be considered an “Old box” (eine alte Schachtel). So, instead of socks, the garland will be composed by empty cigarette boxes (or boxes of that similar shape) and the same applies, drinking following the garland. Let’s be honest, it definitely looks nicer than the guys, doesn’t it? 🙂
When it comes to the big 30th, things get a bit messier. As in 25, there are different tasks for both guys and girls.
If you’ve been unlucky enough (whether it was by personal choice or life’s decided for you) to be yet STILL unmarried by your 30th birthday, your lovely friends and family will make you sweep the stairs of the town hall or any other very busy public place in town, possibly with a very small brush and highly likely in a very ridiculous costume, like this poor guy Isa and I ran into yesterday in the center of Bremen. He had to sweep the stairs to the Bremen cathedral on a sumo costume and with a very tiny paint brush first, then with a toilet brush.

While he was cleaning, all his friends and family were watching.
If you are a female, then you are not in much more luck than your male counterparts, as you’ll be expected to clean doorknobs, with a toothbrush, also on a costume (possibly)…sounds like fun huh?
The only way either of them can get out of their chores is if they receive a kiss from someone of the opposite gender! Get working on those sweet sweet moves if you wanna be brush free and unmarried by your 30th!
I am definitely not looking forward to my 25th soon…or maybe I am, such a curious little thing. I may want to experience it. Plus it’s not like it’s my 30th yet is it??
Tschüss! 🙂

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  • Reply
    Victoria
    Friday August 30th, 2013 at 09:15 AM

    Sounds like fun to me!!! I would love a tradition like that! You have a fun birthday party coming up!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Iinear G
    Friday August 30th, 2013 at 09:16 AM

    I was to one guy's 25th a few months ago and it was fun 🙂 Thanks for reminding me 😛

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