Can you go shopping on Good Friday?

Hot Cross BunI was asked this week if the shops are open in Germany on Good Friday.

It’s a simple answer: no.

Even on Gründonnerstag (Maundy Thursday) many shops are required to shut earlier than usual, with supermarkets that usually stay open until 9pm, 10pm or even midnight on other days closing their doors at 8pm and not opening again until Saturday morning.

And when they do open there will be a last-minute rush for Osterhasen and generally a lot of people stocking up before everything shuts again for another two days.

With even the bakeries closed on Good Friday, the petrol stations will be doing a good trade and are probably the best place to go if you run out of anything over the weekend.

Osterhase? Nur solange der Vorrat reicht

“Nur solange der Vorrat reicht” is one of those standard German sentences that you often see on any type of special offer that a shop or online vendor advertises for.  Quite simply it means “while stocks last”.

So, as in the English equivalent, you might find that an offer is particularly popular and goes out of stock.

However, this being Germany there are rules on how long a product has to be “in stock” for a shop to be able to claim this, so that they do not purposely have very few available and just use the offer to get people to enter the store.  In the event that they do run out without a certain amount of time, they have to offer the consumers who want to take advantage of it the chance to receive the product later at the advertised price. [Read more…]

Will you be the “Palmesel” on Sunday?

A donkey - ©iStockphoto.com/GlobalPWith this Sunday being Palmsonntag – Palm Sunday, one of the questions in many German families this weekend will be: “wer wird der Palmesel sein?” (who is going to be the “Palmesel”?)

The Palmesel – literally the “palm donkey” – is a nickname given to the last person to get out of bed on Palm Sunday.

The tradition is not new, but it has mutated over time as it was originally used to refer to the last boy to enter the Church on that day.

Of course, the term refers to the donkey ridden by Christ into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion, and since the middle ages German towns have held Palm Sunday processions – some with live donkeys, others with wooden ones.

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