Generally, traditions we do not have in our own country strike us as rather odd or, at least, surprising. This might well be the case with children’s first day at primary school in Germany. On that particular day parents give to their children a paper cone filled with candy, which is actually taken to school. Yes, it is all about sweetening things up! The origin of this tradition goes back to 19th-century Germany and should spread to Austria later on.
Nowadays those cones can be bought at the beginning of the school year in stationary shops or department stores. They are usually decorated with cartoon characters or other motives youngsters are keen on. There are families, though, that go for a homemade approach and design and make their own cone. Cardboard, glue, crepe or glossy paper, yarn, paint – any material will do to craft a unique model that cannot be bought in shops.
In order to experience this tradition, in German language class, Year 5 students created their very own cones. This activity took place after only 3-4 hours of German and was the perfect excuse to have fun with something rather unpopular among children: writing. Our “mini cones” (the original models are approximately 70 cm long) were decorated with newly learned words in German that were written down in very careful handwriting. There is only one catch to our cones: they aren’t filled with candy!
By Lucía Rodríguez Cuenca