October is German-American Heritage Month

October is German-American Heritage Month. The reason is that October 6th is German-American Heritage Day. On that date in 1683, thirteen German families from Krefeld, near the Rhine, landed in Philadelphia.

Those families established Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlement in the original thirteen colonies. The families were German Mennonites who were seeking religious freedom.

In the 1700s, German immigrants traveled by ship to the port of Philadelphia as redemptioners. They were indentured servants who worked hard labor in farms and fields for three to seven years, in exchange for the opportunity to come to America.

In the 1800s, nearly 1.5 million Germans left their country to settle in the United States. About 250,000 German immigrants arrived in 1882. The 1910 Census counted more than 8 million first and second generation German Americans (in the U.S. population of 92 million).

Here are a few things that German heritage contributed to the United States:

Kindergarten was created by German educator Fredrich Froebel in 1837. The word means “the children’s garden”. It was a play-based program that could help young children transition from home life to school life.

Hot dogs came to the United states in 1893 as part of the Colombian Exposition in Chicago. That same year, hot dogs became standard fare at baseball parks. Sausage culture is German, and Germans ate “dachshund sausages” on a bread roll.

The Christmas tree tradition was brought to the United States from Germany. German settlements had community trees on display as early as 1747.

By the 1890s, Christmas ornaments were arriving to the U.S. from Germany, and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was first placed in 1931.

Oktoberfest runs from September 16 and can run through October 3. The main event is held in Munich, Germany. The festival includes beer tents, traditional Bavarian music, and people dressing in Bavarian clothing, dirndls and lederhosen.

Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:

* Germans Recruited to Come to Michigan

* German Inventions

* Christmas Traditions from Around the World

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