What Germans like to buy for New Year’s Eve (Silvester)

The German supermarkets have been swamped since yesterday. The madness will continue until tomorrow afternoon, 31 Dec, when the shops close at 2pm. Here are a few items Germans like to buy around this time of year.

Clover, pigs, and chimney sweeps are good luck charms and make a nice thank-you present for co-workers, neighbors, etc.

chimney sweep

Fireworks sell out quickly. Our children got their own share of firecrackers and bottle rockets.

Germans spent 113 million euro on fireworks last year. If I had any say in this, I would stop this waste.

fireworks for sale in German supermarket

Then, some of us tend to give our friends drinks with interesting labels, such as ‘Kalte Muschi’, which is a coke and red wine mix, or plain red wine with an alluring name.

Drink names

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

(Little Gidding)
― T.S. Eliot

German Lesson: Happy New Year!

Was Deutsche VOR Neujahr sagen [What Germans say before New Year’s Day]:

– Einen guten Beschluss! (Happy ‘Closure’)
– Einen guten Rutsch! (Happy ‘Sliding’)

Right after midnight, we say ‘Prost Neujahr!’ (Cheers to the New Year!)

The following days, we wish ‘Alles Gute im neuen Jahr!’ (Happy New Year!)

Why do we have different greetings? For the same reason we do not wish a ‘Happy Birthday’ BEFORE the actual date (what if…). We also don’t give baby showers (what if…), nor wedding showers (what if…).

Wir Deutsche sind ein abergläubisches Volk.
We Germans are a superstitious folk.

abergläubisch (Adj): superstitious
der Aberglaube: superstition
das Volk: folk

Silvester Feuerwerk

German Lesson: Schnapszahl

The German term Schnapszahl (schnapps number) is a number made up of identical digits. We often see this as a good-luck charm, such as in license-plates, dates, the bill at the cash-register, rolling the dice in parlor games, etc.

What is a Schnapszahl? At the supermarket, if your bill is 5,55, you might wonder if it is your lucky day and then run off to play the lottery.

But the real meaning behind the schnapps and number probably stems from alcohol, in this case obviously the schnapps. We might see double numbers, when our alcohol intake has been too much. Hence, Schnapszahl. Too much schnaps, double or even triple the number.
In games, such as darts and dice, if a player gets a Schnapszahl, he/she might have to buy a round of schnapps.

We’ve got half a Schnapszahl at the moment with 2211 Likes. We’re getting there.

Post by Learn German.

Post by Learn German.

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