They viewed the cone as a bribery and harassment of the poor. The first day of school still follows today

In Germany, school cones have become the subject of classic children's literatureIn Germany, school cones have become the subject of classic children’s literatureSource: Courtesy of

The custom of giving children a so-called Schultüte/Zuckertüte on the first day of school later spread to Thuringia, Saxony and the border parts of today’s Czech Republic, which were inhabited by German-speaking populations. There are records of him in periodicals from Ostrava or Ceske Budejovice. “Before 1910, cones were only occasionally found outside these areas. Depending on the area, children received different gifts on the first day of school, especially pastries: large pastries or cakes. But the children were also given plates and cups, reminding them of the day important after a long time,” added the museum staff.

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Its purpose was clear. In the weekly magazine for teachers, Besedá učítelská, which was published at the end of the 19th century, we can read that the cone was one form of positive motivation. The school environment of the 20th century was not always a friendly place and it was a difficult transition for children who spent their time playing until then.

emotional flow

The author of the article for Teachers Weekly, Josef Ostschke, recalls that parents had previously frightened children at school and liked to point out that corporal punishment is part of teaching. Therefore, the first day of school was often accompanied by emotional flows. “If the mother wants to leave the classroom, she starts the child at full speed, after which she will not calm him even a piece of candy. And it happens that the mother sits with him for half a day at school, just to accustom him to the torture chamber,” Oshtiki describes.

The first school portrait of a girl from the Saxon-Bohemian frontier since 1940The first school portrait of a girl from the Saxon-Bohemian frontier since 1940Source: Hermann Krause

However, school cones have become a thorn in teachers’ side over time. In the Dictionary of Housewives from 1937, we can read that teachers appealed to individual schools to ban cones altogether. And the lexicon notes, “Children of poor families will not have cones, and their sight can hurt them.” On the first day of school, it was clear what kind of conditions each child belonged to, and later systematic bullying was only one step away. Lexikon also cites another argument for the abolition of cones. “It is not appropriate for our children to get the impression that they go to school for money and persuasion,” adds the Handbook of Housewives.

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Despite the efforts, this tradition has survived, and although it has German roots, it has continued in the Czech Republic even after 1945. And this year, parents are especially interested in it. “We already monitored interest in school cones last year, but this year the numbers are up again and this category is the biggest jump in the last week,” a portal spokesperson notes. Adela Berkova.

Compared to last August, sales have been 25 percent higher this year. The average price for a school cone today is two hundred kroner, but there are many options and variants to have. “Depending on the size, simple small cones can be found for less than 100 crowns, and huge cones for 400 crowns and more are no exception,” adds Berkova.


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