In many urban areas both moms and dads work, mainly because this is the only way they can afford the lifestyle that they want. The size of the German family on average has one or two children. In rural areas of southern Germany you can still find families with several generations under the same roof. But this is not common in urban areas or farther north, where houses are too small to include grandparents and relatives outside the immediate family.
Young people are free to meet and marry whom they choose, but marriage is not the only option: 40% of couples between the ages of 18 and 35 live together without marriage. In urban areas single parents are accepted. Children born outside marriage in Germany have the same rights as children born to parents who are married.
An engagement is seen as an official bond to marry, and both partners wear a gold ring on the fourth finger of the left hand during this time.
There are two parts to a wedding in Germany. First comes the civil ceremony in a registry office, usually the day before the church wedding. That evening the rare custom of Polterabend – breaking glass and pottery to frighten the devil-is sometimes practiced.
The second part, the religious ceremony, takes place the next day. Two or three small children holding flowers, followed by the bride and groom, enter the church together. The gold engagement rings are moved from the left to the right hand of both the bride and groom during the service. After the ceremony there is usually a reception, with food, drinks, speeches, and jokes.
Deaths are announced in the newspapers. Relatives send black-rimmed notifications of the funeral arrangements to friends and others so they can attend.
Funerals are a time of family reunion for the deceased’s family. It is polite for the surviving partner to wear both wedding rings as a sign of widowhood.
Black can be worn for up to six months in some parts of Germany, though this is becoming less common.
Germany’s national railway is named Deutsche Bundesbahn, but most Germans call it the "DB." It is one of the biggest and most reliable rail systems in Europe. All major intercity trains have full-menu restaurant cars. Most have traveling snack vendors, too.
Probably the most famous part of the German transportation system are the superhighways, the Autobahnen, that link most major cities. On lanes of the Autobahnen, there is no speed limit. Cars can sometimes be seen driving 125 miles per hour. At such high speeds, it is possible to drive from Germany’s northern border to its southernmost cities in nine hours or less.
The day typically begins with a small breakfast of fresh coffee or tea and a crusty white roll called a Brotchem. Children usually take a sandwich to school to eat at their mid-morning break. The mid-day meal usually consists of a meat dish with potatoes or dumplings, gravy and a cooked vegetable (this is the largest meal of the day). Dinner is a much lighter meal. It may sometimes only be soup and cold meat or a sausage sandwich, with a beer or tea for the adults and hot chocolate for the children.