A German Back-to-School Tradition: Easing First Day Jitters with die Schultüte

Today, we’re revisiting a post written by our e-Tutor Helga about one of the sweetest (pun intended) back-to-school traditions around the globe: die Schultüte in Germany.

It’s that time of year. This week school starts pretty much everywhere – including Germany. The first day of school, while always special, is filled with anticipation and excitement as well as sometimes anxiety or even dread. So to mark that special day, parents and grandparents in Germany have found a way to make the transition a bit easier: die Schultüte.

Since the early 19th century, every 1st grader receives a decorated cone shaped bag filled with sweets to make the very first day of school a tad sweeter.  Why 1st graders? In Germany die Schule (school) officially starts in 1st grade, while kindergarten is still considered pre-school.  In fact, der Kindergarten is the German word for what you’d call pre-school here in the U.S.

Today’s Schultüte is often no longer filled with sweets but with practical gifts such as pencils or crayons, little toys such as legos, or sometimes even with a little money. But no matter what’s in it, the Schultüte is a coveted tradition to this day.

And just in case you’re wondering… yup, I had a Schultüte as well. Here’s a picture of my first school day in 1966:

Helga, German E-tutor

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