Friday, January 1, 2010

Silvester - and I don't mean the cat

Happy New Year or 'Guten Rutsch' as we have to say here.

In Germany, land of tradition (and no, I'm not trying to be ironic, I'm being serious - as serious as the Germans can be) there are many more traditions associated with the changeover from one year to another...we marked a few but as ever, failed to keep them all:

  • Berliners - not the residents of the country's capital but doughnuts. For the period between Christmas and Jan 1 the bakers sell them with different fillings and different glazings, so there are ones for children with jam or chocolate and topped with smarties and ones for adults with varied fruit fillings and various alcoholic fillings (the last couple of years we've been treated to strawberry champagne and baileys inside the doughnut but this year there's only 'eierlikor' - advocat...the less said about that option the better!)
  • party food of gulasch or raclette - I guess this is easy food a large group of people
  • Dinner for One, http://www.thelocal.de/society/20081231-16465.html a 1963 TV recording of the British comedy sketch, this programme is an indispensable German New Year's tradition since 1972 and holds the Guinness record for being the most frequently repeated TV show in history. Germans usually know every line from the sketch but can't understand why we Brits have no knowledge of it.
  • Bleigie├čen, the melting of small lead shapes in a spoon over a flame and then pouring the liquid lead into cold water and from the resulting solid shape telling your future, an eagle for example means career success and a flower foretells new friendships. This is very entertaining as the shapes rarely look like something that has a listed meaning.
  • Fireworks, every country has firework displays at midnight on New Years Eve but here the displays are personal, on every street corner and every garden. Rather like the many flavoured Berliners, fireworks are only on sale here between Christmas and New Year and can only be let off without a licence on New Year's Eve, consequently they make up the deprivation of the rest of the year!

Which traditions did we keep? Didn't do the Berliners, had them the 1st day they were on sale after Christmas and still haven't recovered from the disappointment of not being able to get champagne or baileys ones...Chose to have fajitas for dinner with our friends, not sure why, it was a good decision though! Managed to miss 'Dinner for One' yet again, 19:40 too awkward a time, maybe next year! We did the Bleigie├čen, and I'm still clearing up the lead soot from everything. And of course we did the fireworks, the children would never have forgiven us, the 'display' on the corner of our road lasted 30 minutes - it was like a war zone!

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