My friend Birgit is from Germany and she graciously hosted a party at her home to share her culture. It was a fun evening with friends, laughter and eight different German wines. She showed us some of her special cultural items adorning her home like:

  • A wood-carved cuckoo clock with little wood-carved figurines hanging on the wall.
  • A beautiful wood-carved candle chandelier (or so I thought) hanging from the ceiling that she explained is actually a traditional German Advent candle holder that she keeps out all year for enjoyment. It has amazing carved details – I never saw anything like it.
  • Various figurines carved out of wood scattered on her fireplace mantel that she explained are German smokers or Rauchermen. You remove the top of the figurine; place a small incense cone inside, light it, put the top back on and incense smoke comes out of the figurine’s pipe. Cute and entertaining! (Her collection consists of more than 40 smokers, but she only puts about 15 out at once and rotates them throughout the year.)

Fun Fact: German smokers are unique because they are generally carved in the image of the “every day man” like farmers and miners, rather than political or religious figures. They are believed to have been popular throughout history because they honor the work of the common man, instead of more visible/famous figures of ancient and modern times.

Birgit covered her dining table in black, red and yellow to look like a big German flag and all the plates and napkins were black, red and yellow. She put out pewter utensils for everyone to use and a huge delicious spread of food from bratwurst to German chocolate cake. We all left very full!

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