The History of the “Schultüte”
In September, for most children in America it is now “Back to School Season” with numerous trips to office supplies store in order to purchase the necessary supplies.
In Germany, however, First Graders get a special treat on their first day of school: a Schultüte, a colorful and elaborately decorated cone which is prepared by a students’ parents and with goodies such as small school supplies (like pens, pencil cases, erasers, etc.) , toys and candy.
These bundles of gifts evoke excitement in students during one of the most important days of their childhood – the day that school begins. As kids make their way to their new classrooms, they proudly carry their Schultüten with them.
This German tradition originated in the early 1800s in the cities of Jena, Dresden and Leipzig. Back then, parents brought the Schultüten directly to the schools, where they were hung on a so-called Schultütenbaum (“school cone tree”) in the classroom. When the tree was “ripe” with school cones, it meant that students were ready to begin first grade. On the first day of school, students were instructed to pick the cone with their name on it. To their surprise, the cones were usually filled with edible treats such as pretzels and candy.
Naturally, the tradition spread and evolved over time. Today, students often receive their Schultüten before they leave their homes to go to school – and their cones are often filled with school supplies, rather than candy. Even Austria and the Czech Republic have adopted this fun back-to-school tradition
Source: Excerpts from the newsletter “This Week in Germany”(TWIG edition 8/28/2015) published by German Information Center/Embassy of Germany.
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