Category Archives: Events

German American Day 2018

Join us for this family friendly week of programs that celebrate the St. Louis region’s wonderful German-American heritage with several programs, events, and even a feast as we celebrate German American Day in the St. Louis region! Don’t worry… there will be some German beer, brats and music as no German celebration is complete without them!

German-Americans: History, Culture and Community

Germans have been part of America’s history since 1683, when a group of immigrants, thirteen families, from Krelfeld landed at Philadelphia, and founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. In 1688, they filed the first petition ever written, to abolish slavery, in the colonies. In 1883, German Americans in Philadelphia, began to celebrate this heritage with Deutsch-Amerikanischer Tag or German American Day. This spread throughout the United States, and every German-American community would also use this day to honor this heritage. This tradition has even survived the anti-German sentiment of World War I and II. And, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October 6, 1983 officially German-American Day.

In St. Louis, Missouri, one of the largest strongholds of German-American heritage, the German-American Committee of St. Louis, was officially founded. We work to preserve, educate and promote the German-American heritage of St. Louis. Please join us at the following events:

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  • Oct 3 –  Germans in St. Louis: History, Culture, Community – What Makes Missouri So German?  Missouri’s German roots run deep, but why? What were the driving forces behind German emigration, and why did so many Germans end up in our region? Join Dorris Keeven-Franke, Missouri Germans Consortium, for a look at the earliest waves of German settlers in Missouri, from the early 1800s through the Civil War. This program is free and takes place at the Missouri History Museum, at 7pm in the Lee Auditorium. This event kicks off a week long celebration of Everything German in Missouri.
  • gadaysmallOct 6 GERMAN AMERICAN DAY = FEST & FEAST 

  • Start by soaking up the culture and heritage of Missouri’s German American community, then enjoy an afternoon feast highlighting the culinary specialties of Germany!
    This event opens at the German Cultural Society of St. Louis at 3652 S. Jefferson Ave., 63118 when the Hall opens at 10 am. Visit the hall and meet representatives of all 18 active German-American organizations in the St. Louis region. The Fest is free and is open until 4pm!  The Feast begins at 1pm and is a delicious German meal and is $25 per person (or $20 for MHS members) and registration is required at mohistory.org/german. There will be lots of German entertainment and celebration throughout the day! See Missouri History Museum events for more information and to Register for the dinner

Join us for a festival of German organizations! Meet and Greet the 18 German Organizations of the St. Louis Region and learn more about how you can become more involved and connect with your heritage!

Fest and feast your way through German American Day! Start by soaking up the culture and heritage of Missouri Germans, then enjoy an afternoon feast highlighting the culinary specialties of Germany!

10 AM-4PM VISIT The German American Organizations of St. Louis and learn how you can know more.

1PM – FEAST WITH THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM – The Feast is $25 per person (or $20 for MHS members) and registration is required at mohistory.org/german. Entertainment

3PM-5PM ENJOY The musical talents of our Liederkranz, Mannerchor, and Damenchor will entertain you.

  • Oct 10 What STILL Makes Missouri so German – Missouri Germans Consortium – This Panel will include Consul General Herbert Quelle, Dr. Steve Belko, and others. It explores the German-American culture and community of today –  the topics will include the German Heritage Corridor, Sister Cities and German Language Initiatives, and more. This event is free and takes place takes place at the Missouri History Museum

This series is presented by The German American Committee of St. Louis, the Missouri Historical Society, and the Missouri Germans Consortium.  Please visit one of our websites for more information:

GermanAmerican Committee of St. Louis

Missouri Historical Society

MissouriGermans Consortium

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Friedrich Hecker

Friedrich Hecker was a hero to the vast majority of German Americans living in the United States during the mid-19th Century. The Friedrich Hecker Monument was dedicated on October 1, 1882 before a crowd of over 15,000 in our beautiful Benton Park, Fr_Hecker_3in St. Louis, Missouri.Born September 28, 1811 in Eichtersheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, he was a German lawyer and politician, and one of the primary agitators in the 1848 Revolutions in Germany. Following the 1848 German Revolution he moved to the United States, but maintained an acute interest in events in Germany. In the spring of 1849, the Baden revolution re-ignited, and Hecker returned to Europe to participate. However, he only made it as far as Strassburg when word came that the insurrection had been defeated by Prussian troops and he returned to Illinois once again.

Leading up to the Civil War, he became increasingly focused on the issue of abolishing slavery, and wrote the forward to a German translation to Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man so that all of his fellow Germans could know this great writing. After the Battle of Fort Sumpter, when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, Hecker would begin recruiting, and Illinois exceeded its allotment of 6,000 volunteers in five days. Hecker would serve as a Brigade commander in the Union Army during the Civil War, leading the 3rd 350px-Friedrich_Heckers_FarmBrigade, 3rd Division, XI Corps.  After the war, Hecker returned to his farm in Summerfield, Illinois. It was in 1871 that he gave his very famous address at St. Louis of his enthusiasm for the German Americans and their glorious future in their newly united Fatherland, the United States. He passed away on March 24, 1881 and was buried at his farm in Lebanon, Illinois called Summerfield.

On Sunday, August 12, 2018 Johannes Fechner (MdB) a member of the German Bundestag, will be visiting our area to lay wreaths at both the Benton Park Memorial and the burial site in Summerfield, Illinois. Members of the Illinois Civil war Hecker Regiment will be at the Summerfield Ceremony along with members of the Missouri Sons of Union Veterans. The wreath laying at Benton Park will take place at 10am. and is located at 2101 Wyoming St. St. Louis, 63118. The wreath laying at Summerfield will take place at 12pm Noon and will be at 9920 Summerfield South Rd, Lebanon, Illinois. Everyone is most welcome to attend either or both events. Please feel free to contact us using the comment section if you would like further information.

 

 

 

 

 

Karneval – The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season begins today!! After the 12 days of Christmas, what’s next? winter sets in with its frigid fury. Trying to hibernate like a Polar Bear will only last so long. Then you remember that back on November 11th, at the 11th hour, that the Council of Eleven announced their plans for the Karneval Season! While suspended for Advent, which was a great distraction, has ended with the Three Kings visit on January 6th, the Twelth Day of Christmas. Now what? It won’t be long and Lent will begin in preparation for Easter. Germans and German-Americans begin to plan one big week of Karneval while they can. The next four weeks build in anticipation! If you are a Missouri German and want to enjoy Karneval in 2018 visit http://stl4stuttgart.com/

Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht

There are different words in German for the Carnival or “Mardi Gras” Season: KarnevalFasching and Fastnacht. Although all three refer to the same pre-Lenten holiday season,  they each reflect the regional customs and traditions in Germany. Missouri’s Germans have immigrated from all over Germany for the past 175 years. The Fifth Season in St. Louis is most commonly referred to as Karneval and began back  on the 11th of November !

In Germany Karneval is the word used for the Rhenish (Rhineland) version of carnival in northwest Germany (except in Mainz), while the word Fasching refers to the similar celebration in southern Germany and Austria. The term Fasching is also seen and heard in Berlin and other parts of northern Germany. Fastnacht, mostly used in Swabia and carnival-parade-masksSwitzerland, is also used in the northern city of Mainz. However, that still does not mean that these words are interchangeable. Karneval, is a more modern (17th century), Latin-based word borrowed from French and Italian. The true origin of the word is uncertain. The German word used to be written with a C rather than today’s K-spelling.

The Carnevale in medieval Venice is one of the earliest documented carnival celebrations in the world. It featured still-popular traditions, including carnival carnival-parade-happygirls1parades, masks and masquerade balls. Gradually the Italian Carnevale customs spread north to other Catholic European countries, including France. From France it spread to the German Rhineland and, through colonization, even to North America (Mardi Gras). The word Fasching dates back to the 13th century and is carnival-parade-costumesderived from the Germanic word vaschanc or vaschang, in modern German: Fastenschank refers to the last serving of alcoholic beverages before Lent. In the 19th Century the 40-day Lenten period of fasting was strictly observed. People refrained from drinking alcohol or eating meat, milk products and eggs. The English word “fast” (to refrain from eating) is related to German fasten. And according to GermanWay.com “Fastnacht, refers to the Swabian-Alemannic carnival, which differs in some ways from Fasching and Karneval, and is found in Baden-Württemberg, Franconia (northern Bavaria), Hesse and much of Switzerland. Although this word looks like it comes from the German for the “eve of Lent,” in fact it is based on the Old German word fasen (“to be foolish, silly, wild”). Thus the word, sometimes spelled Fasnacht (without the t) actually means something like “night of being wild and foolish.” 

In Germany parades are a big part of the celebration. The big day for Karneval is the Rose carnival-parade-bandMonday parade, whereas the big Fasching parades are usually the day before, on Carnival Sunday. But according to some sources, one of Germany’s biggest carnival parades takes place in the northern German city of Braunschweig… “Schoduvel” (“scaring away the devil”), …which dates back to 1293.

Karneval begins on November 11th
Many carnival organizations traditionally begin their official activities on November 11. Then it is suspended for Advent… and reconvenes in January. It is only following the Christmas and New Year’s season that carnival preparation really gets underway.

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St. Louis Stuttgart Sister Cities  Winter Ball

Organizations begin planning carnival balls and building floats. If there are any events on November 11, they are brief and only serve as a mini pre-carnival. Very little related to carnival happens between November 12 and January 5. No matter the name, almost all carnival observances end at midnight on Shrove Tuesday. The next day, Ash Wednesday, is the official start of Lent, even if very few people today actually fast until Easter. Historically, the purpose of carnival was to live it up before the start of Lent and its 40 days of gustatory sacrifice.

 

Karneval in the United States

From GermanWay.com: “There are a few places in the USA noted for their carnival observances. The most famous, of course, is New Orleans and its big Mardi Gras. That has a lot to do with the French influence in Louisiana (which was named for the French king Louis XIV). Lafayette,

Louisiana also has its own Mardi Gras, as do Baton Rouge and several other Louisiana towns. There are good-sized carnival celebrations in Mobile, Alabama (since 1703!); Fredericksburg and Galveston, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi and in Pensacola, Florida (dating from 1874). The Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis, Missouri is a relatively recent development that only began in the 1980s. What began as a private party at a bar has now become a rather large event with corporate sponsors.”  See STL4Stuttgart.com for more information and tickets to the highlight of the Karneval Season in St. Louis.

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