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25th and 30th Birthday

In Ostfriesland birthdays are celebrated in a very special way. Especially the 25th and the 30th birthday of bachelorette and bachelors are unique. One might think that many custom of our tradition are a bit strange, but the occasion of all traditions is always the same:  Community and fun. With a lot of creativity and effort the friends and neighbors of the birthday child decorate the house with old socks, bottles or boxes.  From now on every 25 year old bachelorette is declared as an "old box" and the 25 years old bachelor as an "old sock” or “old bottle”.  Also sayings like "Come into the socks you old bottle!" are written on a large poster which is placed in the garden. If then they haven’t managed to get married until their 30th birthday they will have to face another curious custom.

Men have to sweep the market place on their 30th where friends and neighbors have poured out boxes of corks from wine bottles and beer bottle caps. The man has to sweep the whole place until a virgin girl gives mercy to the bachelor and releases him with a kiss.

The girls face a similar custom on their 30th birthday. They get the task of cleaning doorknobs. Friends and family spot numerous doorknobs. The girls have to clean them until a virgin boy redeems the birthday girl with a kiss.

But the Frisians are not always as mean to the birthday child. On birthdays like the 16th, 18th, 20th, 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th friends and family bring decoration for the door such as wreaths and celebrate with the birthday child.


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