Dos and don'ts when celebrating a birthday This is what the German citizenship 4 months ago   03:33

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In Germany, wishing someone happy birthday on the wrong day could get you in big trouble - and getting old can also get expensive. Join Kate Müser on Meet the Germans for more birthday dos and don'ts.

Every other week, DW's Kate Müser explores the quirks of everyday life and language in Germany. Originally from the United States, Müser has lived in Germany for over 13 years. Follow Meet the Germans on YouTube or at

Comments 27 Comments

I think the "Reinfeiern" has the same appeal as New Year's Eve. You have the countdown, the excitement, everybody gathering around you exactly at midnight to sing and congratulate you. Maybe we just like countdowns? Clean cuts? Who knows...
wolfs den
Happy birthday!
Misfit Hog
Oh my, I live in NZ now and completely confused my poor coworkers when they wished me "Happy Birthday" early and my automtic reaction was kind of horrified they'd do that. - Getting used to early birthday wishes took me a while.
"Herzlichen Glückwunsch" does mean "Congratulations" in general and not particularly "Happy Birthday".
David Hildebrandt
To wish them happy birthday to early is to tempt fate. You don't know yet whether they will live to see their birthday.
Saying "Happy Birthday" to soon is a misfortune in Germany, because with that you basically say that the person will die before the birthday or won't experience their birthday.
Rcs Fjo
Jesus not this woman please. I want Rachel Stewart
Doggy Boy 1320
Who else is just looking at the background move?
2:57 stooooooooooooooooooooopid
Felix Prescher
Where I live in Germany it is also common to tell your friends that you do not want any presents (you get some anyways), because its more about spending time with people you like and inviting them for dinner/breakfest/a party... Reinfeiern is nice because you have a reason to drink a lot which you cannot do at breakfast or a nice dinner.
totally wrong???
Why would you say Happy Birthday to a person who has not birthday in the first place?
It sounds like other people benefit from your own birthday.
Nice video as always. Although I thought I was on YOUR channel, Kate. I just try to keep the date of my birth a secret thus curving this whole issue.
The reason that you do not say "Happy Birthday" before the actual birthday is that we are not promised tomorrow. Just because your birthday is tomorrow, beginning at midnight tonight, there is no guarantee that you will live to see it. Five minutes from now you could be dead. Germans do not want to tempt fate.
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This is what the German citizenship Dos and don'ts when celebrating a birthday 4 months ago   03:07

Forget memorizing the German constitution and all the state capitals. If you want to become a German citizen, this is what you really need to know. Is Rachel Stewart up to the challenge of the alternative Einbürgerungstest?

Rachel is on a mission to investigate the quirks and idiosyncrasies of daily life in Germany. Every two weeks she explores a new topic - from beer to nudity to complicated grammar - and heads out to get some tips from the Germans themselves.

Rachel moved from the UK to Germany in 2016. As a relative newcomer she casts a fresh eye over German clichés and shares her experiences of settling into German life. You'll find more from Meet the Germans on YouTube or at

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