cultural difference 37: school cone

September 12, 2010

Tomorrow is the first day of school for six-year-old children in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the part of Germany where I live. It’s thought of as a big day in their lives, and to celebrate it, we have a special tradition that reaches back to the year 1810:

Children receive a “Schultuete” (“school bag”) from their parents (and/or grandparents or godparents). The Schultuete is a big cone made of colored cardboard and with pretty decorations. It’s filled with candy, cookies, and chocolates to sweeten the first day in school.

Nowadays, in addition or instead of the sweets, parents often put crayons, pens, toys, or other small gifts in the Schultuete.

Quite often, the Schultuete is larger than the excited kid clutching it, making for very cute photos. 🙂



  1. How very interesting! I see how this Schultuete would help energize and excite children on their first day of school. We live in Dallas, Texas, USA.

    • So, are there any special traditions for the first day of school in Texas?

  2. I have lived here in Texas only a short while, but probably Texas is like most of the USA. The children carry book bags and some carry lunches. I don’t remember anything really special on the first day other than apprehension because it’s the first day, but my children are grown, so things may have changed.

  3. To make up for the lack of first-schoolday traditions, graduation is a bigger deal and a bigger celebration in the US than it is in Germany. 😉

    • Thank you for sharing that interesting bit of information.

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