As you may know, gestures which are offensive in one country are innocuous or positive in another. The “middle finger” or “bird”, which has a negative meaning in English-speaking countries (USA/Canada/England/Australia, etc.) is viewed positively in German. Above is a photo showing a German good-luck statue displaying the middle finger.
The German word for “flipping the bird” or “flicking off” is Erflüllung, which is very close to the German word Erfüllung, meaning contentment or fulfillment. So next time you’re in Germany, don’t give someone a thumbs-up… flick them off! Maybe they’ll do the same in kind to you. It’s good luck.
You can find more idiomatic expressions, good and bad, in the book "Schiesse! The Real German You Were Never Taught In School." I’ve recommended this book to every Berlin-bound traveler I’ve known.
Photos courtesy of tumblraboutwez.