19

'Grüß Gott' is often used as greeting on Bavarian trails. From my limited experience, it's most often used by older people, younger use 'Hallo' more often.

I don't feel 'Hallo' is very adequate to greet older people, so I'd find 'Grüß Gott' better, but I have a doubt - is it considered religious-neutral nowadays? Or by using such formula, you express some kind of commitment to the faith?

I'm very little committed to faith, so I just don't want to make false impression. For example, I wouldn't like to express my wish to speak about God just because I've used that greeting for absolutely secular reason ;)

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  • As I recently found out, even the English "good-bye" is a short form for "God be with you", but has lost all religious connotation. "Grüß Gott" is widely used also in Austria in a rather neutral way. Dec 29 '14 at 10:17
  • Interesting - no one ever greeted me with "Hello" in 7or 8 years in Bavaria. I can't remember hearing "Guten tag" or anything other than "Grüß Gott" - it might have happened, but I don't remember it. I would, however, have noticed if anyone had greeted me with “Hello”. Not even my German born, of German parents, office colleague Kevin (he, of course, was from North Germany, not Bavaria :-) Mar 16 '17 at 11:07
23

As a Non-Bavarian with roots in Bavaria, my experience is such:

  1. As a Bavarian in Bavaria: That greeting is totally neutral with no notion of a religious attachment
  2. As a Non-Bavarian in Bavaria: Using "Grüß Gott" is the same as mentioned above, with a slight hint to respecting the culture. Using "Guten Tag" is a clear statement that you're not a local, but not unfriendly
  3. As a Bavarian outside of Bavaria: Using "Grüß Gott" might raise an eyebrow, especially in more urbanized areas but is widely accepted as "just a Bavarian-thing" and not a religious one
  4. As a Non-Bavarian outside of Bavaria: You could as well use "Gesegnet seist du", as both sound very religious
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  • 7
    Note that "Grüß Gott" is not restricted to Bavaria. You will not cause jumping eyebrows in Stuttgart and the rest of Swabia too.
    – Takkat
    Sep 10 '13 at 14:48
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    Thanks for clarifying that. I was thinking about northern Germany, I guess: Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg...
    – npst
    Sep 10 '13 at 14:56
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    I also hear "Grüß Gott" all the time when I'm on holiday in Austria.
    – stevenvh
    Sep 11 '13 at 15:10
14

I am from Bavaria and to be honest, I doubt that people today actually see a religious background in saying "Grüß Gott". It's just the way they greet each other. So a reply like "I will if I ever meet him" or "whom?" or "which one?" will mostly be frowned upon. Personally I think that this is even more rude than greeting an anti-religious person with "Grüß Gott" - at least the person greeted you and that's the way you appreciate it?

Also, I've never met any Muslims living in Bavaria who instead used "Grüß Allah" oder Buddhists saying "Grüß Buddha". They say "Grüß Gott" as well. Also, while being open to new religions or cultures, Germany is historically a Christian country - you may or may not like it. Personally I don't understand why anyone would be offended by being greeted like that. There's no reason.

If you want to make sure, sure "Guten Tag" oder "Guten Abend".

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    Agree, except for Germany being "by definition a Christian country". Who is supposed to have defined it this way? Who even to have the power to make such a definition?
    – chirlu
    Sep 10 '13 at 9:44
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    @chirlu I changed the passage. I actually thought that even though the constitution granted everyone the right to have the religion he wants and practice it, it also said something about Germany being a Christian country - I stand corrected here. Still, we consider Germany to be Christian, as opposed to being Islamic or Buddhist. So to put it the "American way": Even if it was for religious reasons, it would be everyone's constitutional right to greet any other person with "Grüß Gott", as he's then practising his religion. But as I said: I don't think most people do it for that reason today. Sep 10 '13 at 10:07
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    @ThorstenDittmar: Noch gut 50% der dt. gehören einer chr. Kirche an, ca. 50:50 kath./ev. . Von den Evangelischen, so las ich kürzlich beim hpd, gehen noch 5% zum Karfreitagsgottesdienst, dem höchsten, kirchlichen Fest dieser Religionsgemeinschaft. Das sind 1,25% der Bev. - wenn es bei den Katholiken ähnlich aussieht sind es 2,5%. Sep 10 '13 at 18:19
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    @CarstenSchultz: Sowie die Präambel: dejure.org/gesetze/GG/Praeambel.html - "In seiner Verantwortung vor Gott und den Menschen ..." - Gott in Einzahl unterstellt natürlich schon, dass es erstens einen gibt, und zweitens genau einen. Das würde man heute sicher nicht mehr so schreiben, außer um andere auszugrenzen und dem Art. 140, etwa WRV 137(1) zu unterlaufen, Sep 10 '13 at 18:28
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    @userunknown Das ist doch schön, bedeutet das doch nur, dass Deutschland mehrheitlich von Christen bewohnt wird. Sep 11 '13 at 7:19
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I'm aware that this answer is 3 years old, but I just want to give my view on the topic since it might help people who read this question in the future.

I am Bavarian and have grown up here. I'm Roman Catholic (at least on the papers), have gone through that whole process and such, but I'm not a believer. My family is rather irreligious, so I grew up without believing in a god.

When I was a teenager I became very convinced that my view (as Atheist) is the right one and so I had regular discussions with believers and abandoned sayings including god ("Grias God" is among them).

Since then I have grown up quite a bit. I still don't believe in a god, but I do believe that I can't possibly know the truth.

Now I am using "Grias God", especially with older people I don't know. It doesn't have a religious meaning to me anymore, but rather a traditional one.

0

I lived in Ansbach for 2 years (courtesy of my Uncle Sam) and embraced greeting others with a kind, "Grüß Gott". I would observe the older men actually tipping their hat when they they were greeting and of course I would try to do the same... out of respect... I found those who were locals were happy when I did that. It's funny.. I look on those days as some of the best ever!

I hope it's still that way!

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    So is this an argument for a religious neutral interpretation or against? Nov 7 at 10:28
-2

Ich habe vor 20 Jahren einige Jahre in Bayern gewohnt und kein einziges Mal "Grüß Gott" verwendet, aber mir ist Religion auch nicht einfach egal oder ein lustiges Trachtenspiel der Umgebung, sondern ein Ärgernis.

Ich betrachte die Verwendung durch andere als ignorant und borniert. Allerdings hat man meist Besseres zu tun, als zu fragen "welchen denn?" oder "soweit will ich heute nicht mehr" zu erwidern, um eine Diskussion zu beginnen.

Die meisten Leute, auch die, die es selbst nicht verwenden, nehmen es aber einfach als gegebene, leere Floskel hin und fühlen sich nicht herausgefordert.

Guten Morgen, Guten Tag, Guten Abend und Gute Nacht sind aber völlig akzeptable, neutrale Formen, die auch nicht so salopp daherkommen wie ein Hallo. Will man sich als besonders anpassungsfreudig und dennoch gottlos präsentieren, so kann man ein Habe die Ehre probieren.

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    Ich verstehe einiges in deiner Antwort nicht. Inweifern zeigt die Verwendung Ignoranz auf? Inwiefern Borniertheit? Von wem sprichst du überhaupt in dem Absatz? Von den Gläubigen oder den Ungläubigen? Von den Christen oder den Nicht-Christen. Außerdem, wie verbreitet ein "Grüß Gott" Ärgernis? Ach, und wer will eigentlich wen herausfordern? Wieso ist das eine leere Floskel? Ist es genauso 'bedeutungslos' (hust) wie ein "Moin Moin" im Norden (auch wenn das ganz offensichtlich nichts mit Religion zu tun haben kann)? Was sucht "Habe die Ehre" hier?
    – Em1
    Sep 10 '13 at 10:38
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    Deine Einstellung zur Religion teile ich, und auch mir ist während meiner Zeit in Bayerisch-Schwaben kein „Grüß Gott“ über die Lippen gekommen, da es mir sehr fremd wäre. Trotzdem würde ich folgendes zu Bedenken gebe, wobei ich mich auf Sprachliches beschränke. Mit einer Antwort wie „soweit will ich heute nicht mehr“ würdest Du ohnehin die Bedeutung der Grußformel verkennen, die Dir Gottes Segen wünscht. Ich zumindest benutze auch problemlos „Tschüss“, obwohl es wahrscheinlich ursprünglich „bei Gott“ bedeutete.
    – Carsten S
    Sep 10 '13 at 11:09
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    +1 für den letzten Teil mit "Tschüss" (a dieu). Wohlgemerkt finde ich es recht befremdlich, Religion generell als "Ärgernis" zu bezeichnen. Das ist ignorant und borniert. Sep 10 '13 at 13:41
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    Einigen wir uns einfach darum, dass off-topic ist, wie segensreich (g) oder schädlich Religion ist.
    – Carsten S
    Sep 10 '13 at 14:25
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    Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass Grüß Gott genauso ohne Religiösität von den Bayern empfunden wird wie Mein Gott! oder Um Gottes Willen! in Norddeutschland. Oder irre ich mich da?
    – äüö
    Sep 10 '13 at 21:06

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