The Holidays That Best Allow German-Americans To Celebrate Their German Heritage

The largest self-reported ancestry group in the U.S. is German-Americans. According to the latest research, they constitute approximately 17% of the U.S. population, or about 43 million people. The state of Pennsylvania has the highest number of people with German ancestry, with a reported 3.5 million people claiming German heritage.

Of course, that’s not the only state with a high number of German-Americans. States across New England, the Midwest, the Deep South, California, and New Mexico can also make the same claim. The high number of German-Americans in the U.S. is a major reason why festivals such as the German-American Steuben Parade and Oktoberfest are such important events.

It’s also why we’re here today to talk about the holidays that best allow German-Americans to celebrate their German heritage. We wanted to round up all of the holidays we could find that covered this subject and bring it to all of our readers. We hope that this article proves to be informative and entertaining as well. With that being said, let’s jump right into it.

German Beer Day (April 23rd)

Although this holiday started out as a holiday in Germany and is still celebrated in that country, it’s also one that’s celebrated around the world. It’s a holiday that many German-Americans might want to observe. There are a ton of German beers out there, but we have some of our favorites that we’d like to share below:

German Beers:

  • Weltenburger Barock Dunkel
  • Einbecker Ur-Bock Dunkel
  • Augustiner Bräu Edelstoff Lager-Style Beer
  • Gaffel Kölsch

Pretzel Day (April 26th)

This holiday is the perfect day for German-Americans to celebrate their heritage by enjoying a type of food that’s been made in Germany since the Middle Ages. Pretzels are a great snack and are perfect for pairing with coarse mustard. If you’re also celebrating German Beer Day, then you might also want to pair a beer with it.

If not, just enjoy it as it is. And since there are a ton of great pretzel shops across the U.S., finding the perfect pretzel shouldn’t be too hard on this day. Especially since many of the following pretzel shops also sell pretzels online.

Top U.S. Pretzel Shops:

  • The Pretzel Shop (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Bavarian Pretzel Company (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Ralf’s Bavarian Pretzels (Bellingham, Washington)
  • Gus’ Pretzels (St. Louis, Missouri)

National German Chocolate Cake Day (June 11th)

Okay, German chocolate cake isn’t really German. It was actually created in the United States during the 19th century, but we’re going to go ahead and include it on our list. After all, many German-Americans do enjoy this style of chocolate cake, so we can consider it to be an Americanized German cuisine.

Below are some places where people can find German chocolate cake if they don’t want to make their own for this holiday.

The Restaurants Selling the Best German Chocolate Cake:

  • Bakery Nouveau (Seattle, Washington)
  • Milk Bar East Village (New York, New York)
  • Max’s Allegheny Tavern (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Café Latte (St. Paul, Minnesota)

National Wiener Schnitzel Day (September 9th)

There is probably no dish more “German” than Wiener Schnitzel. At least, that’s what many Americans believe to be the quintessential German dish. It’s traditionally a pan-fried veal cutlet that is garnished with lemon and served with potato salad or cucumber salad, and may be served with a cream sauce.

In the U.S., it has a lot in common with Chicken Fried Steak, which is an American variation of Wiener Schnitzel. Chicken Fried Steak is commonly made with beef and served with a white sausage or milk gravy.

German-American Steuben Parade (Third Saturday in September)

This annual parade is held all over the United States, but one of the biggest ones is in New York City. It’s celebrated on Von Steuben Day—a holiday that celebrates the Prussian-born Baron Friedrich von Steuben.

He arrived in the U.S. as a volunteer and offered his services to General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. The Steuben Parade in New York was founded in 1957 by German immigrants to keep the traditions of their homeland alive.

Oktoberfest (Mid-late September to the First Sunday in October)

This 16-18-day folk festival is observed from coast to coast in the United States. Hundreds of cities take part in this festival, and it’s been an important representative of Bavarian culture since the 19th century.

During these events, over 2 million U.S. gallons of Oktoberfest Beer are enjoyed, and many of these festivals feature amusement rides, games, and plenty of different food stalls. Pork Schnitzel, Spaetzle, German Potato Salad, Soft Pretzels, and Lebkuchen are just some of the foods that can be enjoyed at these events.

National German-American Day (October 6th)

This is a holiday that German-Americans Day can celebrate with their friends and family members. It’s a day to enjoy Apple Cake, Sauerkraut, Wiener Schnitzel, Grilled Pork Chops, and a variety of other dishes. It’s also a day that can be observed with copious amounts of German or domestic beer.

There are also plenty of activities across the U.S. held to observe this day — many of them thrown by German Cultural Centers.

German American Heritage Month (October)

With holidays such as German-American Day and Oktoberfest occurring in October, it’s no wonder that the entire month is dedicated to German-American culture. And you know what that means? More German food and beer.

Königsberger Klopse, Labskaus, Currywurst, and Döner Kebab are great dishes to include during this month. As are Käsespätzle, Rouladen, and Sauerbraten.

International Happy Gose Day (November 17th)

The final holiday we want to talk about today is International Happy Gose Day. This is another German beer holiday, but it’s not just dedicated to beer in general. It’s dedicated to a specialty beer that’s been brewed in Germany since the 1200s.

It comes from Goslar, Germany, and is brewed with at least half of its mash ingredients in the form of malted wheat. Some of the dominant flavors in gose include a lemony sourness with notes of herbs and a strong salt taste. It’s a great beer to enjoy with grilled and/or spicy foods.

Okay, dear readers, this concludes our article. We hope that everyone interested in their German-American culture has found it to be useful. We wanted to not only entertain but also educate our readers on some of the great German-American holidays that can be enjoyed all year long.