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Giving Thanks the German Way: Erntedankfest

Erntedankfest Erntedank-AltenkirchenThanksgiving Day in Canada or the United States is a popular holiday but we are not the only countries to give thanks for good harvests in the fall. Germany has a Erntedankfest (“harvest thanksgiving festival”), often celebrated on the first Sunday in October. It is rural and religious in nature rather than a family get-together and features special all day church services as well as a festive air with parades, processions, feasting, and music.

One of the most outstanding features of the holiday is the decorations done with vegetables, fruits, grains and breads which are later donated to the needy. Although on a large scale, these displays can be an inspiration for Thanksgiving table decorations in North America. Here are a few examples gleaned from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons but there are many more. Just Google Erntedankfest and you will have a multitude to dazzle your eyes.

A straw wreath, fresh basal, cyclamen and mums add to the display of vegetables and grain. Erntedankfest Geschmückter_Altar_zum

Here, a very elaborate display forms a carpet like decoration. Erntedankteppich_St Johann Treherz Pfarrkirche

Fruits and vegetable sit at the base of a formal altar with a traditional “harvest crown” on the right. Erntedankfest St_Johann_Baptist,_Bergkirchen,_Altar 2

Floristry pointer

Recommended Reading:

Flowers: The Book of Floral Design
Tussie-Mussies: The Language of Flowers
The Complete Flower Arranging Book
Infinite Succulents