Pack your sunglasses AND your snow coat! We’re about to take you on a colorful tour through the German seasons with all its wonders - from the first spring flowers that light up Germany’s dark forests to the snowy Christmas markets in winter.
One of the most rewarding aspects of learning a language is learning about the cultures of those who speak it - and a huge aspect of people’s day to day are the seasons they go through. Some countries stay warm throughout the year and only alternate between rainy seasons and dry seasons. Some have summer from June to August, while others get to enjoy summer from December to February.
This influences the weather, the flora and fauna and how we celebrate our holidays. If you’re learning German, you might be curious what a year in the life of a German-speaker looks like. So to understand all of it a little better, we’ll walk you through the seasons of the year in German and what months of the year they fall in.
The seasons in German
In English, the word “season” has a number of different meanings, while in German each one of those meanings has its own word. If you’re talking about one of the four seasons in a year, then “Seasons” in German are “Jahreszeiten”, which literally translates to “times of the year”. This might be the most common use of the word, but there are a few more meanings:
- Season (the four seasons): Die Jahreszeit
- Season (for flowers, vegetables etc.): Die Saison
- A season (Season of hope, season of migration etc.): Die Zeit (Die Zeit der Hoffnung, die Wanderzeit)
- To be in season: Saison haben
- To season (food): Würzen
|Spring||Der Frühling / das Frühjahr||[ˈfʁyːlɪŋ / ˈfryːˌjaːr]|
|Autumn / fall||Der Herbst||[hɛʁpst]|
|The rainy season||Die Regenzeit||[ˈʁeːɡn̩ˌt͡saɪ̯t]|
|The dry season||Die Trockenzeit||[ˈtʁɔkn̩ˌt͡saɪ̯t]|
Spring in German
Spring in German is “Frühling” and the beginning of spring is a big deal in countries that get as cold as the German-speaking ones. You can feel a shift in the mood. Birds start singing and people tend to have a spring in their step.
March and May are often nice and sunny, while the weather in April is notoriously unpredictable and a perfectly sunny day might suddenly change and surprise you with a snowstorm.
The big holiday in spring is Easter. This was originally a pagan fest named after the Germanic spring goddess Ēostre. Even though Christians obviously hijacked the holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, most Germans went back to celebrating it in its original meaning and all the Easter traditions are about celebrating the fresh season, with eggs and rabbits representing fertility and new life.
Did you know that even the Easter Bunny is German? He was first mentioned in German folktales and introduced to America by German immigrants in the 1700s.
|Countries||Spring months range||Weather information|
|Germany||March - May||Mild and pleasant with some of the last snow|
|Austria||March - May||Mild and breezy|
|Switzerland||March - May||Fresh and sunny|
|Belgium||March - May||Crisp and rainy|
|Luxembourg||March - May||Warm and sunny|
|Liechtenstein||March - May||Warm and sunny|
Notable Spring holidays in German
- Weltfrauentag (International Women’s Day): March 8, official bank holiday in the city-state of Berlin.
- Der erste April (April Fool’s Day): After playing a prank, you yell “April! April!” in German.
- Ostern (Easter): First Sunday after the first full moon in spring.
- Walpurgisnacht: April 30, Celebration of saint Walpurga.
- Der erste Mai / Tag der Arbeit: May Day / Labor Day, in Germany, it’s tradition to dance into the May and there will be a number of “Tanz in den Mai” parties across the country.
- Muttertag (Mother’s Day): The 2nd Sunday in May
German spring words
Spring is the season of birdsong, bunnies and fresh new starts! It’s also the time when flowers peak out of the snow - your first clue to dust off those gum boots and gardening gloves. If you’re interested in a walk through the year that focuses on flowers, check out our bloomy guide on 127 lovely flowers in German!
|New life||Neues Leben||[ˈnɔɪ̯əs ˈleːbn]|
|Sunny, but cool||Sonnig, aber kühl||[ˈzɔnɪç ˈaːbɐ kyːl]|
|In full bloom||In voller Blüte||[ɪn ˈfɔlɐ ˈblyːtə]|
Summer in German
“Summer” in German is “Sommer” and it can get hot! Even though the temperature in Germany ranges from an average low of 59°F (15°C) and an average high of 76.°F (24°C), which sounds fairly mild, the truth is, like most of central Europe, German-speaking countries are just not prepared for hot temperatures, so ACs are extremely rare. Better learn how to fold a paper fan!
|Countries||Summer months range||Weather information|
|Germany||June - August||Warm and sunny|
|Austria||June - August||Warm and sunny, mountain areas open for the summer season in late June|
|Switzerland||June - August||Warm and rainy, mountain areas open for the summer season in late June|
|Belgium||June - August||Warm and sunny|
|Luxembourg||June - August||Warm and sunny|
|Liechtenstein||June - August||Warm and sunny|
Notable summer holidays in German
- Vatertag (Father’s Day): In Germany, Father’s day is celebrated 40 days after Easter. In Austria it’s the 2nd Sunday in June. Very different from Mother’s day, this day is usually celebrated as a “guy’s day out” with some festive day drinking!
- Nationalfeiertag der Schweiz (Swiss National Day): August 1
- Mariä Himmelfahrt (Assumption of Mary): August 15
- Nationalfeiertag Liechtensteins (Liechtenstein’s National Day): August 15
German summer words
Summer fruits like strawberries and raspberries ripen and it’s a lot of fun to pick these yourself on the fields that open up through the picking season. Ice-cream, sunshine and summer sports come to mind. Every other year, the Fußball Championship is also a huge part of German summers, either the European Cup or the World Cup.
|Summer break||Die Sommerferien||[ˈzɔmɐˌfeːʁiən]|
Fall in German
“Fall” in German is “Herbst” and it brings us some of the most beautiful color combinations: While the leaves turn yellow and red, Germans pull out their scarves and gloves and overcoats, showcasing that long-awaited fall fashion and getting in the spirit for the cold half of the year. Harvest season brings veggies like sweet potato and squash and migratory birds do the smart thing and migrate to Southern Europe and North Africa.
|Countries||Fall months range||Weather information|
|Germany||September - November||Chilly and rainy|
|Austria||September - November||Chilly and rainy|
|Switzerland||September - November||Crisp and cool|
|Belgium||September - November||Mild to chilly|
|Luxembourg||September - November||Mild to chilly|
|Liechtenstein||September - November||Mild to chilly|
Notable Fall holidays in German
- Oktoberfest (October fest): Celebrated in Munich and other parts of the German state of Bavaria from mid-September to the beginning of October
- Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day): October 3, celebrating the anniversary of German reunification between East Germany and West Germany in 1990
- Nationalfeiertag in Österreich (Austrian National Day): October 26
- Reformationstag (Reformation Day): Originally celebrated only in Protestant regions of Germany and Switzerland, the day is now widely celebrated in American tradition as Halloween: October 31
- Allerheiligen (All Saints Day): November 1
- Fasching / Karneval (Carnival): November 11, On 11/11 at 11:11AM, the long carnival season begins and lasts all the way until February. This is celebrated with colorful costumes, especially in the German city of Cologne.
German Fall words
There’s no Thanksgiving in Germany but the sentiment is very similar: Falling leaves, pumpkin spice drinks and everyone is slowly getting into the holiday spirit!
|To cool down||Sich abkühlen||[ˈapˌkyːlən]|
Winter in German
In Germany, the holiday season officially starts in winter. This is the time to spend with your family and close friends and eat lots of good German foods.
If you’re coming for the skiing or snowboarding season, it’s best to visit between December and March. December is one of the most beautiful months to visit anyway, especially the South of Germany and Austria and Switzerland - get ready for some snowy mountains top views!
|Countries||Winter months range||Weather information|
|Germany||December - February||Cold and snowy, especially in the mountainous South|
|Austria||December - February||Cold and snowy|
|Switzerland||December - February||Cold and snowy|
|Belgium||December - February||Cold and rainy|
|Luxembourg||December - February||Cold and snowy|
|Liechtenstein||December - February||Cold and snowy|
Notable Winter holidays in German
- Advent: Each Sunday leading up to Christmas marks one advent.
- Nikolaus (St. Nicholas Day): Children clean their shoes on December 5 and put them on the window sill to find them filled with candy on the morning of December 6.
- Heiligabend (Christmas Eve): December 24. This is the main Christmas event in Germany, when families eat Christmas dinner, children recite Christmas poems and gifts are exchanged under the tree.
- 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag (1st Christmas Day): December 25
- 2. Weihnachtsfeiertag (2nd Christmas Day): December 26
- Silvester (New Year’s Eve): December 31. We wrote a whole article about New Year’s Eve in Germany. Check it out for a breakdown of each German New Year’s tradition!
- Neujahr (New Year’s Day): January 1
- Heilige Drei Könige (The Three Kings): January 6
- Valentinstag (Valentine’s Day): February 14
German winter words
Whether you’re in the mood to get cozy by the fireplace or build a snowman outside, while humming “Oh du Fröhliche” - Germans really know how to do the Christmas season right!
|Snowball fight||Die Schneeballschlacht||[ˈʃneːbalˌʃlaxt]|
|Santa Claus||Der Weihnachtsmann||[ˈvaɪ̯naxt͡sˌman]|
How to talk about the seasons in German
Now that you know all about the seasons in Germany, get ready to chat about them with the German-speakers! Here are some example sentences you’ll use when talking about the four seasons in German: Four sentences each for the four seasons.
- Endlich ist der Frühling hier! (It’s finally spring!)
- Im Frühling schmilzt der Schnee. (In spring, the snow is melting.)
- Meine Freunde haben alle gerade Frühlingsgefühle. (All my friend are getting spring fever.)
- Lass uns im Frühling Blumen pflanzen! (Let’s plant some flowers in spring!)
- Wohin fährst du in den Sommerferien? (Where are you going for summer break?)
- Ich reise im Sommer nach Rom. (I’m traveling to Rome in summer)
- Dieser Sommer ist der heißeste Sommer in zehn Jahren. (This summer is the hottest one in ten years.)
- Limonade ist perfekt für den Sommer. (Lemonade is perfect for summer.)
- Hast du meinen Herbstmantel gesehen? (Have you seen my fall coat?)
- Im Herbst kann es ganz schön kühl werden. (In fall it can get pretty chilly.)
- Hier riecht es schön herbstlich. (It smells nice and fallish.)
- Herbst ist meine Lieblingsjahreszeit. (Fall is my favorite season.)
- Warst du diesen Winter schon Schlittschuh laufen? (Have you already been ice-skating this winter?)
- Ich freue mich schon auf die Weihnachtsmärkte diesen Winter! (I’m looking forward to the Christmas markets this winter!)
- In Deutschland ist es Winter, also denk daran, deine Winterkleidung einzupacken! (It’s winter in Germany, so remember to pack your winter clothes!)
- Weihnachten ist im Winter. (Christmas is in winter.)
Summer is what happens in your head
If most of the year is just a little colder than you’d like, you’ve gotta learn how to keep a sunny disposition despite the weather! So take it from the Germans, as the a capella band Wise Guys from Cologne sings:
“Jetzt ist Sommer, egal ob man schwitzt oder friert. Sommer ist, was in deinem Kopf passiert. Es ist Sommer, ich hab das klar gemacht. Sommer ist wenn man trotzdem lacht!”
Translation: “Summer is now, whether you’re sweating or freezing. Summer is what happens in your head. It’s summer, I made sure of it. Summer is laughing anyway!”
Jetzt ist Sommer - Wise Guys
Sing along and keep in mind that winter is always followed by spring and, if nothing else, life is an endless circle of holidays. So there’s always something to look forward to! For related reading, complement your learning with days of the week in German.
And as spring is followed by summer, each one of our articles is always followed by the next one. So be sure to keep up with our language blog!