How do you show your gratitude to those who gave America these can’t-miss traditions: Christmas trees, Easter Bunnies, and Santa? Well, some things are invaluable, but we certainly try our best to pay our respects with German-American Heritage Month. It is celebrated in October every year to honor the contributions of America’s largest ethnic community. Throughout the nation there are Oktoberfests, German festivals, and German Day. This is the perfect time to experience the essence of German-American culture.
German-American Heritage Month - History
Rebirth of German Day
The German Day custom had died after its inception due to anti-German sentiment during the war years. But Ronald Reagan revived this day. Later, after several years, German Day became a part of German Month — which is celebrated in October every year.
The outbreak of World War II brought strong anti-German feelings to the U.S. In the ensuing years Germans were afraid to talk openly about their ancestry.
Germans arrived in huge numbers
Many German refugees fled to the U.S. when the Nazi party took control of Germany.
German Day was born
German Day was first celebrated on October 6 — marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the settlers from Krefeld to America.
The first German town
And that’s what it was literally called – Germantown! This town in Pennsylvania was the first German settlement created in the original 13 American colonies.
How to Observe German-American Heritage Month
1. Attend an Oktoberfest
Seek out one near you and get set for some fun and tasty new experiences.
2. Read German literature
Thomas Mann, Günter Grass, Bertolt Brecht, and other famous writers are Germany's gift to world literature.
3. Visit the German-American Heritage Museum
This impressive museum in Washington D.C. traces the path of German immigrants who came to this nation and achieved the American dream.
5 Reasons To Thank German-Americans
1. The great American burger is German
The quintessential American hamburger, as the name suggests, comes from Hamburg, Germany! The world sees it as American and so far no German has complained.
2. A German built the Brooklyn Bridge
John Roebling, an engineer and German immigrant, was responsible for building New York City's iconic bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn.
3. They put the "K" in K-12.
German immigrants in Wisconsin built America's first kindergarten.
4. One word. Weekend.
Before the Germans arrived in America many Christians observed the Puritan Sabbath. Germans, however, took a much lighter approach to their Sunday outings. The result? Many recreational facilities began sprouting up in U.S. cities.
5. They gave us hot dogs
We devour 150 million hot dogs every 4th of July! And what's a day at the ballpark without them?
Why German-American Heritage Month is Important
A. It celebrates the culture of 58 million Americans
German immigrants have influenced us in more ways than we can imagine. When they left their home they brought their religious beliefs, food, music, and art — leaving indelible marks on our culture.
B. It reminds us of German contributions
German-Americans have distinguished themselves in a wide variety of areas. They built cars, churches, and started apparel empires — while influencing art, politics and more.
C. For the beer and the brats
Lager beer, tasty bratwurst, creamy sauerkraut, sausages, and pretzels — the list could go on! Once a year you can feast on these at any German fest.