There is no coal mining in Essen any more. The last mine closed in 1986. The city has not forgotten the base of its development, though. Essen is proud of being a mining town. A sculpture in Freiheit square behind the train station shows miners working in an inclined seam (photo 2).´
However, as happens often, the hard and dangerous work in the mines is sort of glorified. Miners' traditions are regarded in a romantic light now. Traces of these can be found in many places and many varieties. These traces influence the local souvenirs. Just like these chocolates in the shape of briquets or packed in little coal sacks which are on sale in a cafe and pastry shop in Kettwiger Straße.
- Arts and Culture
Essen's Christmas market is spread out over the pedestrian zone in the city centre. The main market is in Kennedyplatz, then there are additional smaller markets in Wlly-Brandt-Platz opposite the station, in Flachsmarkt, by the cathedral, in Rathenaustraße and around Marktkirche. Behind Marktkirche there is a medieval market. Porscheplatz has the international market with stalls selling items from various countries.
The market in Kennedyplatz is actually quite atmospheric, especially after dark. The square is surrounded by post-war buildings and not exactly a beauty in broad daylight, but for the Christmas market a "light roof" is installed. Illuminated garlands form what looks like a big tent above the square and market stalls (photos 3-5).
Essen's Christmas markets begin one week earlier than usual, on Thursday before Eternity Sunday. On Eternity Sunday they stay closed during the day and open for a few hours in the evening. They terminate on December 23.
During the darkest season of the year Essen's city centre has extra illuminations that have nothing to do with Christmas. The Essener Lichtwochen (Essen Weeks of Light) take place from late October to early January. Each year one European country is chosen as "guest country". The pedestrian zone in the city centre is decorated with illuminated pictures that refer to this guest country. The pictures show famous buildings, symbols and scenes from the country's culture and historical events. In 2012/13 (as you can guess from my photos, I assume ;-)) it was France. For 2013/14 they have picked Sweden.
During the 10 weeks of the festival there are performances, concerts and such with artistst from the guest country. In the square by the cathedral there are a ferris wheel and some food and drink stalls.
The booming industry of the Ruhr district needed manpower from the beginning. In the late 19th century immigrants came from Poland, Silesia, rural Prussia and other regions in the East to work here. During the "economic miracle" after the War again more workers were needed. The so-called "guest workers" were invited first from Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Greece) and then from Turkey. Many families in the Ruhrpott have some kind of migration background (latest pc term for immigrants and their descendants) - the population is international and multi-culture but at the same time the region is a melting pot. Those who speak the purest Ruhrpott dialect may well be dark-haired, dark-eyed people with a mediterranean or middle-eastern appearance who were born here and spent their entire lives here.
Lots of symptoms of that cultural mix can be spotted. Like this sign that advertises the latest invention of a kebap stall in Essen: the Pomm-Döner. It involves döner (Turkish), French Fries (Belgian/generally Western European) and Tzatziki (Greek), all served together in one bag.
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
Visit in September the Carnival of the Cultures. It's a festival on the Berliner Platz.
There is a big Bazar with a lot of exhibitor with clothes from any country and delicious food from all over the world.
Ruhrpott-slang (or rather 'dialect') was long neglected as a language only spoken by 'stupid working class' people. Now it's experiencing a revival. Saying 'datt' instead of 'das' is becoming a common habit.
To greet someone you say either 'Hallo!' or 'Tach!' (=Tag=day), to say goodbye, we usually say 'Tschüss!'.
Here are some of my favourite examples of 'Ruhrpöttisch' (sometimes with literal translations in the middle):
'Könnse mir ma sang vietnam Bannhof geht?'- Könnten Sie mir wohl (bitte) sagen, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme? - Could you tell me the way to the station (, please)?
'Wieso dattenich?' - Wieso das denn nicht? - Why not?
'Watt is dattan?' - Was ist das denn? - What the hell is that?
'Ach du dicken Vatter!' - Oh, you fat father! - Jesus Christ!/Holy Sh*t!/something like that
'Kerl inne Kiste!' - Guy in the coffin! - Goddamnit!
'Vadammte Hacke, getz is aba Schluss!' - Cursed mattock, this is the end! - For f*cks sake, stop it!
'Hasset bald?!?' - Hast du es bald geschafft? - How much longer will this take you!?!/What's your problem?/Hurry up!
'Komm inne Puschen!!!' - Come into the slippers!!! - Hurry up!!! Move faster!!!
'Mach hinne!' - Make go there! - Hurry up!
'Mach mich nich feddich!' - Don't wear me down. (more or less) - You must be joking!/I don't believe it!
'Ey, du Geier!'- Hey, you vulture! - You stupid idiot (what are you doing?)!!!
'Ey, Alter, wohin mit dir?- = Hey, dude, where to put you/what should one do about you? - Dude, you're a hopeless case...
'Is mir Latte...'- = This is lath to me. - I don't care.
'Das ging rubbeldiekatz!' - = That went rubbeldiekatz (rubbeldiekatz consists of three words actually: 'rubbel' 'die' 'katze' - translated 'rub' 'the' 'cat'. Really, it's true ;)) - That happened very fast!
'Wie'n Äffchen aufm Schleifstein dahocken' = to sit like an ape on a grinding wheel - you know sitting rather uncomfortably with heavy bended legs, on low seats for example
Schwachulli - = Schwächling. - weakling, wimp
Pimpf - = kleiner Mensch, Kind - small person, child.
'Mach dir ma kein Kopf dadrüber.'- = Don't make yourself a head about it. - Don't worry about that.
'Killefitt' - = unnötiger Kleinkram - small, unnecessary items...
'auf Trallafitti gehen' - = go on Trallafitti - hitting the city, going out and around
And now some terms to caress your lovey:
'Schnubbel' or 'Schnübbelken' - ? - s.o. who's sweet and lovable
'Schätzeken' - little treasure - honey, sweetheart
'Perle' - pearl - girl friend (usually used by boys talking about their girls when they're absent :0))
'Putzelchen' - ? - rather not to use for boyfriends or girlfriends (it's like honeybunny or something. I wouldn't use it in that way...). I use it for my cat, my sister (slightly ironical) and sometimes friends (when you want to show them that their behaviour is sweet but probably a bit errr naive? Yet lovable. Uncorrupted may be the right word.)
'Dötzeken' - Kleines - little one, probably a child, apart from that same usage as Putzelchen
'i-Dötze' - Erstklässler - typical term for first graders around here, not really sure what the 'i' is supposed to mean though...
'Oppa' - Opa/Großvater - Grandpa/Grandfather
'Omma' - Oma/Großmutter - Grandma/Grandmother
'Ömmaken' - Oma/Großmutter - also Grandma/Grandmother, only making her a little smaller. Same is applicable for Oppa, of course.
more to come
Not really natural, but possible - playing with words:
Darf datt-datt?! - Darf das das?! - Is it (the child) allowed to do that?!
Datt darf datt. - Das darf das. - It is allowed to do that.
Datt-datt-datt darf! - Das das das darf! - (= that it is allowed!) Hardly believable!
Hammsammsamstach Schalke jesehn? Hattata jereechnet! - Haben Sie am Samstag das Schalke-Spiel gesehen? Das hat da vielleicht geregnet! - Have you seen the game of Schalke (soccer club) on Saturday? How it rained then!
Ruhr in Flammen (Ruhr in flames) is a firework event at the end of June.
Open Air in the Anental. A great Open Air with many new bands. It's also at the end of June.