German Word of the Day: Der Kürbis

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving in Germany today, maybe you are heading to the shops to pick up a pumpkin. Here's the German word so you know what you're looking for.

German Word of the Day: Der Kürbis
Photo: Depositphotos

The Germans love pumpkins; supermarkets are currently full of beautiful squashes and pumpkins in orange, yellow and green, whilst shopfronts are also decorated with the orange fruit. Kürbissuppe (pumpkin or squash soup) is the warm delight of the season all around Germany as Herbst (autumn) ends and winter begins. 

You might also need to know the word for winter squash (Bisam-Kürbis) and butternut squash (simply Butternut-Kürbis), both favourites in soup, often topped with seeds from the squash when served at restaurants in Germany. Coming from the same family of squash, a gourd is referred to as a Feigenblatt-Kürbis.

The largest Pumpkin Festival in the world at Ludwigsburg Palace in Baden-Württemberg displayed more than 450,000 pumpkins in October, before an impressive winner was selected at the end of the month.

This year's winners of the Heaviest German Pumpkin at the Ludwigsburg festival celebrate with their 795kg pumpkin. Photo: DPA

Carved pumpkins as part of the American tradition of Halloween are now also widespread in Germany, although the red kuri squashes which are popular as food are too difficult to carve. Instead, you can find a traditional orange pumpkin in the supermarket to take home and show off your artistic talents.   

Just ask the supermarket assistant: 'Wo finde ich einen Kürbis?' (Where can I find a pumpkin?)

Member comments

  1. Halloween is not an American Tradition. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Samhain is the Gaelic term for November. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

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German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Anyone struggling with learning German (or any big skill) could use this popular piece of reassurance.

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Why do I need to know this?

If you’re getting down on yourself for not doing something you are still learning just right – be it playing the piano or speaking German – you can gently comfort yourself with this phrase. Or you can confidently cite it to reassure your perfectionist friend or family member that they are indeed making great strides towards their goal.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as “There is still no master which has fallen from the sky,” the expression gets the idea across that no one is born – or comes pummeling down from the heavens – as an expert at something.

Rather they become a Meister (or at least halfway decent) through continuous hard work and discipline. 

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that will add swagger to your language skills

The saying is similar to the also widely used “Übung macht den Meister” (Practice makes the master) or the English version: Practice makes perfect. 

Not surprisingly, Germans – who pride themselves on industriously reaching their goals – have several other equivalent sayings. They include “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” (There’s no prize without hard work) and “Von nichts kommt nichts” (Nothing comes out of nothing).

Where does it come from?

The popular phrase can be traced back to the Latin “Nemo magister natus”, or no one is born a master. Another version is “Nemo nascitur artifex” or no one is born an artist. This explains why so many languages have similar expressions.

What are some examples of how it’s used?

Sei nicht so streng mit dir selbst. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is born perfect. 

Mein Trainer sagte, es sei noch kein perfekter Schwimmer vom Himmel gefallen.

My coach said that no one is born a perfect swimmer.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust