New Year’s Eve in Germany

Last year, the firework industry took in euro 133 million in sales in Germany alone. Personally, I could do without this air – and noise pollution. On the other hand, I understand that some people (mostly men, I’d suppose) see this as a bit of Wild West fun.

Revenues from firework sales reached their peak in both 2016 and 2017 with € 137 million in sales. In 2018, the New Year’s celebrations brought in € 133 million, as did 2019. Let’s hope for a continuous drop in sales.

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve

“Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.” , said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

I’ll be laughing a lot on New Year’s Eve, when I watch Dinner For One. I’m the only one in our family from a 100% German gene pool, and have been told only a German could find this show funny. True. Nobody else in my family laughs with me. One of them might laugh about me, while I’m doubling over in laughter. 🙂

Back to the fireworks – in spite of them being produced mostly in China, I still want to wish your people 祝 你 们!

fireworks – das Feuerwerk (German)

New Year’s Eve – Silvester (German)

Silvester & Wunderkerzen

Today is the last episode of our German Words Explained podcast, which has now been going for 160 episodes.

We talk about the topics that we covered, and in particular about the Käseigel. Back in June 2007 Maria promised to make one and 158 episodes later here it is:

Ein Käseigel

To finish off the series, we explain the word Wunderkerzen.

If you’ve enjoyed the series, please sign up to our mailing list to find out more about the transcripts of the podcasts.

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So now, for the last time, listen to the podcast:

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Raclette, Fondue & Bleigießen

In this edition of German Words Explained we take a look at three traditions associated with New Year’s Eve.

Raclette is originally a traditional Swiss dish made from cheese.  A large piece of cheese is put near a fire and is brought to melting point.  When the cheese is soft and about to melt, a layer is scraped of and eaten with bread.

The modern raclette is an electrical table-top heater.  Small dishes are filled with chopped-up vegetables, eggs, sausage rings and other small pieces of food and then covered with cheese.  These are then placed under the element of the raclette.  Many raclettes have a metal top where meat or bread can be fried, some even have stone tops for cooking steak.

Foundue is probably the most well-known outside of Germany, also being a traditional Swiss dish.  Originally made by melting cheese and often wine over a flame, many people in Germany use the same form to heat cooking oil on New Year’s Eve and cook small pieces of meat in it.  Others melt chocolate instead and dip pieces of fruit in it.

Bleigießen is definitely not to eat, it is a tradition that families carry out on New Year’s Eve.  They buy small packets of lead – often together with a special spoon.  The lead cubes are placed on the spoon and held over a candle so that they melt.  Once the lead is molten, it is dropped into cold water where it sets into a new form.  The trick is then to decipher what the form means for each person for the coming year.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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German Shop-Hours on Dec 31 or Silvester

A common problem for new foreign residents to Germany is to find closed supermarket doors on the afternoons of Heiligabend (Christmas Eve), Dec 24th, and Silvester, Dec 31st.

Our local supermarket, EDEKA, puts up the following announcement every year. Even spelling mistakes get recycled in Germany.

Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache...

Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache...

Please note that the correct spelling is Silvester, and not Sylvester.

Sylvester was a Pope and is a Looney Tunes character.

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