Sweeping your chimney can bring good luck

Photo by Gabor Tinz / Shutterstock.com

Your house requires a lot of maintenance to keep it up to snuff. Whether you are a renter or owner, there are some standard maintenance chores that need to be taken care of every year, like trimming the hedges, cleaning out the rain gutters and getting your chimney swept.

In Germany, having a chimney in your house is fairly common as wood burning stoves and fireplaces are often standard. Just because you don’t have a fireplace doesn’t mean you don’t need your chimney to be swept. Your heating system will likely also have a chimney that needs maintenance each year. But did you know that chimney sweeps in Germany are also a sign of good luck and are often invited to weddings to get the nuptials started on the right side of the coin?

The origination of why a chimney sweep is good luck is not due to some exotic tale of adventure and magic. Instead, there is a more pragmatic reason; in the old days, the chimney sweep (much like today) cleared your chimney and in turn, you would be able to cook because your stove was wood-fired. Additionally, your house would not burn down after a cleaning, so they were thought to bring good luck.

One of the conveniences of chimney sweeps in Germany is that they come to see you every year without having to call them. The same chimney sweep (or company) comes to the house each year to maintain your systems. They will usually stop by before they make their house call to leave you a note saying that they will be by on a certain date and time in the near future. Of course, it would be smart to ask your neighbors in the area if they know of a sweep that comes around each year just to be safe. If not, you should call your local chimney sweep to inquire (and maybe get a German-speaking friend/neighbor to help you).

Sweeps in Germany do much more than just clean the chimney. They also check your furnace exhaust, check for gas leaks and look for potential problems with your heating system. Some sweeps will show up in traditional top hat and button-down shirt, but don’t let that fool you. They often bring sophisticated equipment as well for communicating with your heating system. If you are lucky enough to see a chimney sweep with traditional uniform that has silver buttons, ask them if you can turn one of their buttons for good luck. As a result of this tradition, you may notice chimney sweeps are often missing buttons on their uniforms!