Saturday, 12 October 2013

Ampelmännchen, Berlin, Germany

When I got back home from Benidorm I had a lot more mail waiting for me than I had expected, which I thought was odd. Turned out I was lucky enough to be the 'Winner of the Month' for September 2013! :D It's a lottery on the Postcrossing forum where everyone who wants to participate sends a postcard to the winner, and at the beginning of the following month the current winner draws the new winner for the new month. I'm not very good at explaining the rules but they are all here if you're not familiar with the idea and want to take a look. ...and perhaps participate as well? :) You need to be a forum member to be able to participate. If you want to join, just send me a message on the forum and I'll send you the current winner's address and who knows, you might be the lucky winner next month! ;) It was so much fun and I received LOTS of lovely postcards - 54 cards in total, plus three that unfortunately didn't arrive until October.

 I honestly couldn't pick just one favourite out of all the cards I received but this one, sent by 'isagv', is definitely one of my favourites. I'd been hoping to receive this card for such a long time, I'm so excited to finally have it!

Ampelmännchen (German: little traffic light man, pl. Ampelmännchen) is the symbol shown on pedestrian signals in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR – East Germany), now a part of Germany. Prior to German reunification in 1990, the two German states had different forms for the Ampelmännchen, with a generic human figure in West Germany, and a generally male figure wearing a hat in the east.

The Ampelmännchen is a beloved symbol in Eastern Germany, "enjoy[ing] the privileged status of being one of the few features of communist East Germany to have survived the end of the Iron Curtain with his popularity unscathed." After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ampelmännchen acquired cult status and became a popular souvenir item in the tourism business.

There are three Ampelmännchen variations in modern-day Germany – the old East German version, the old West German version, and a pan-German Ampelmännchen that was introduced in 1992. Each German state holds the rights for which version to use.

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