LearnGermanwith Us!

Start Learning!

German Language Blog

You Won’t Expect The Thing Germans Say If Somebody Burps! Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Culture, Folklore, History, Language, People, Traditions, vocabulary

Rülpsen (burping). It is a thing we all do, to save our Magen (stomachs) from having to deal with all the air we swallow with food and drinks. For Niesen (sneezing), people of many cultures tell the sneezing person something like Gesundheit! (literally: “health!”, meaning “bless you!”). It is usually some way to wish that person good health, as Niesen is often associated with an Erkältung (cold), for example. With Rülpsen, however, it is different. Not that many countries have a tradition that follows a Rülpser (burp). In Germany, we do!

After somebody burps, you say: Schulz! Sometimes, it is accompanied by putting your thumb on your Stirn (forehead). It is especially popular among Jugendliche (teenagers) to do this as a drinking game. If somebody does not say Schulz, gets hit!

But what is this tradition, where does it come from? There is a theory. But first, let’s explain what Schulz means.

The job and the name

Schulz is actually a pretty common German name. The name comes from the Beruf (job) Schultheiß in Medieval times. It was a man who would order the Schuld (debt) of people, and often also had a certain role as Richter (judge). Later, a Schultheiß also became known as a Schultze, Schulze or just Schulz. But that doesn’t explain how it got associated with Rülpsen!

The anecdote

A theory goes that in a bar in 1978, a man named Schulz burped very loudly, and friends sitting with him shouted his name in shock: Schulz! Some teenagers at another table took that and kept saying it, and from there, it spread. But this is purely anecdotal, there is no evidence that this is actually how it went! This story is widespread, though. What do you think, could it be true?

Whatever, the case, saying Schulz is common practice in Germany, especially among Männerrunden (literally: “men rounds”, meaning smokers, as in social gatherings for men).

Something else about Rülpsen: it is also called, more formally, aufstoßen. It is calledein Bäuerchen machen (literally: “to make a little farmer”) for babies that need to burp after they ate. Weird, right? Most likely, this comes from Bauer (farmers), who are not seen as very manierlich (mannerly) people. And Rülpsen is not seen as manierlich either, and so this was put together, and the Bäuerchen was born! Only farmers and babies are allowed to burp in public!


Tags: ,
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author:Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


  1. Joseph T. Madawela:


  2. joyce constantine:

    Sehr interessant über rülpsen. Ich lese einen buch & und die Männer bier trinken & rülpsen. Danke.

  3. Max Spring:

    One comeback to someone burping we used to say (in southern Germany): “Das war der Landfunk, die Sau sprach selbst.” (That was the rural radio, the sow spoke herself.)

    Or just “Mahlzeit” (lit. “mealtime”, i.e. blessed mealtime).

  4. Isha Chaudhari:

    That’s cute and a bit odd too! Any other such anecdotes coining such terms? Mahlzeit is one I know. Is there any story behind that?

  5. Allan Mahnke:

    Great blog! Many thanks!