Schultüte – the traditional German School Cone
Sometime last week my wife came across some of my old family pictures and gave them to me to put away One was a picture of my father’s mother Charlotte Frieda Meyer. In the picture she is holding a cone that is almost as long as she is tall. So my wife set out to find out, what the cone was.
What she discovered is the cone is called a “Schultüte” (or School Cone). The word “Tute” actually translate more literally as “bag”. In Eastern Germany it is often called a Zuckertute, a sugar bag! The cone was originally made of paper and more recently plastic,
The cone is given to children by their parents and/or their grandparents in Germany The Czech Republic and Austria on the first day of first grad. their parents and/or grandparents. The Schultute a big cardboard cone is prettily decorated and filled with toys, chocolate, candies, school supplies, and various other goodies. It is given to children to make this anxiously awaited first day of school a bit sweeter.
What I found interesting was that the tradition dates back to about 1810 in Saxony and Thuringia. The first documented use of the Schultüte comes from Jena in 1817 followed by reports from Dresden (1820) and Leipzig (1836).My grandmother was born in 1901 and the picture at the top of the page was taken in about 1908 when she entered the first grade in 1908 in Dresden! All of her parents and grandparents were from cities in the southern parts of Saxony along the border of Germany and the Czech Republic, in the area where this tradition started!
The photograph on the right is the first page of her report card. The report card starts in 1908 and continues until 1912. The family left for America in September of 1912.
I thought about this picture yesterday when I read that on February 13, 1945 the fire-bombing of Dresden began. I thought – was the school where this report card was issued destroyed, how about their house? Were any of her classmates killed?? Here is the post that I wrote last year about the Dresden fire-bombing. But let’s for now think about a cute little 6 year-old girl with her Schultüte, ready to start her first day in the first grade!!
Here are some links to further explore the tradition of the Schultüte