German Greeting for New Year’s Eve

We say ‘Einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr’ (A good slide into the New Year) a few days before and up until New Year’s Eve.

When the clock strikes midnight on 31 Dec, we say ‘Prost Neujahr!’ to friends and strangers outside while watching the ensuing fireworks and sharing drinks.

The word ‘prost’ derives from the Latin word ‘prosit’, and means ‘To your health’, or ‘May it be good for you’. A long time ago, this was used mostly by university students as a drinking toast. Nowadays, most Germans use it.

The day after New Year’s Day, I usually greet people with ‘Ein gutes neues Jahr!’ I might throw in a late ‘Prost Neujahr’ if I know them well.

Right now at about 8pm on New Year’s Eve, I wish you all a Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!

What Germans Traditionally eat on New Year’s Day

Traditionally, we eat pork (simmered pork knuckle, Bratwurst, or smoked pork chops) and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Eating Sauerkraut is especially important, as it promises a financially good new year.

Eisbein

In some rural areas, you might also find the Eierring or Eierweck on the kitchen table. Many years ago, families had to pre-order the Eierring days in advance to make sure to get one. Fewer and fewer bakeries sell these nowadays, as demand has gone down for this traditional form of bread. The Eierring, with its round shape, is similar to the horse shoe, another good luck charm.

Eierring in Franconia (northern Bavaria)

Growing up, I remember having the Eierring on New Year’s Eve (while it is still fresh) and mulled wine. Whatever was left, we had on New Year’s Day as it was supposed to be.

Same with the pork and Kraut – we had it for dinner this evening, and will have the remainder tomorrow, on New Year’s Day as it is meant to be.

Have a great New Year’s Eve, wherever you are!

Christkind Brings the Presents to German Children on Christmas Eve

The Christkind is a figure in Germany that brings presents to the children on Christmas Eve, especially in the southern parts of the country.

Until the reformation in the 16th century, people in Germany did not give each other presents at Christmas, instead the children received their presents from St.Nicholas (Nikolaus) on 6th December.

Martin Luther, however, opposing the catholic saints, apparently introduced the idea of giving presents on 24th December. These were brought by the Christkind, who is often depicted in white and similar to an angel.

It is said that it comes in through the window and leaves presents around the Christmas tree, while the children are out of the room.

Even though the Weihnachtsmann (Santa) is ever more present, especially in the media, people still ask children “What did the Christkind bring you?”

Sitting on Christkind's lap

Sitting on Christkind’s lap

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast: http://bit.ly/gYfHSN
Source: Quoted from Graham Tappenden’s newsletter

Market Day in Oberursel, Germany

If you happen to be an expat moving to Oberursel, be prepared for a mostly quiet, beautiful, and regulated surrounding. Germans love their beer and wine fests, they do not shop on Sundays, and there are rules when you can party/make noise and not. You’ll get used to it, I’m sure.

Saturday is a busy day for most shoppers, since everything is closed on Sundays. I managed to get away from work for 40 minutes and took a short trip downtown to the market for a Fischbrötchen (marinated fish on a bread roll).

Oberursel’s market is located right at the market square and it’s a very pretty sight.

Saturday market day in Oberursel

Saturday market day in Oberursel

When I went to order my Fischbrötchen, the lady told me she was out of bread rolls and asked me to get one from one of the other vendors. Once I come back with a bread roll, she could make it for me, she said. This is Germany at its best 🙂

Another view of the market with the ever-so-clean fountain.

Oberursel market and fountain

Next, we went down into the Altstadt, where they got ready to set up for the Seifenkistenrennen (soap box race).

Soap box race, Oberursel

Soap box race, Oberursel

“Yes, it’s spelled correctly”, one of the guys seems to say.

Does this look right to you?

Does this look right to you?

Being a repat, but working expat hours, it is sometimes difficult to match my schedule to the German hours of operation.

But this should be the least of your concerns when living in Germany. It is safe, they have good beer, and are generally honest in business dealings.

Day of German Unity

The Tag der Deutschen Einheit (“Day of German Unity”) is celebrated each year as a public holiday on 3rd October. In 1990 it replaced the previous holidays of 17th June in West Germany and 7th October in East Germany.

The main celebrations are held in the capital city of a different state each year.

The date was chosen arbitrarily and celebrates the day in 1990 when re-unification took place. Celebrating the day the Berlin Wall fell was felt inappropriate, as by co-incidence it is also the anniversary of the Reichspogromnacht in 1938.

Click here to hear a simple explanation in German: http://bit.ly/u2wJRJ

Autobahn