German phrase of the day: Da steppt der Bär

German phrase of the day: Da steppt der Bär
Berlin bear statues. Photo: DPA
Trying to figure out your weekend plans already? Knowing today’s phrase of the day will help you find the best spots in town.

“Da steppt der Bär”, which translates into English as ‘the bear is dancing here/there’, is used to describe places where you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

Contrary to what its literal meaning would suggest, however, you won’t actually find bears on the dancefloor – or at least not anymore.  

The phrase has its origins in the Middle Ages, where daily life was dominated by work and there were few opportunities for fun. 

From time to time, funfairs and travelling circuses would come to town. Bears trained to ‘dance’ were among the main attractions and were always met with much delight from townsfolk. 

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The lively atmosphere at these festivals led to the birth of the “Da steppt der Bär”, which remains in use centuries later.  

Similar phrases in English would be “this is where it’s at”, “this place is hopping” or the youth slang term “it’s lit”. 

Am Ufer steppt der Bär!

The riverbank is the place to be!

Gehst du heute Abend zu Lydias Party? Da steppt wirklich der Bär!

Are you going to Lydia’s party tonight? It’s all popping off there!


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