A good friend of mine moved into a new apartment recently. I visited her last Friday in her new home for the first time and brought the traditional German gift with me: bread and salt. My friend isn’t German and was very touched by the present and the fact that is an old tradition. That inspired me to write about it on the blog!
[Transparency: post with affiliate links ]
Maybe you came across this German tradition yourself because your neighbors brought over bread and salt when you moved into your first apartment in Germany. And maybe you wondered why they bring over something to eat 🙂
Gifting new neighbors or friends who move into a new home with bread and salt dates back a long time. Bread is a staple food, when we don’t have bread anymore we’re in trouble. We even find this simple fact in the Bible: “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). And salt has always been very precious. Let’s check the Bible for that again: “Jesus is saying to his disciples and followers, you are the salt. I see you and God sees you as precious.” (Matthew, 5:13).
In the old days bread and salt where seen and valued as a gift from heaven. No matter how poor a family was, these two items needed to be present. Nowadays bread and salt can be seen as a metaphor: bread is vital for our survival and salt adds flavor to life. And that is what we wish for the person who has moved into his or her new home: always enough bread on the table to survive and enough salt so that life will be fun 🙂
It is actually not considered rude or anything when you ring the doorbell of new neighbors, bring over bread and salt and introduce yourself at the same time. Maybe this is the start of a life long friendship.
By the way: You can be a bit creative here: When you know the person you will give the bread and salt to has a bath tub how about substituting the salt to bathing salt? Or when he or she is a beer lover you could also hand over a bottle of beer as it is called “flüssiges Brot” (liquid bread) in German 🙂
Ready-to-buy gift sets
On amazon you find a number of bread and salt themed gift sets [affiliate links]