10 ways to celebrate this New Year’s Eve like a German

Ever wondered what the Germans do differently when they see in the New Year bells? Here are 10 quirky German New Year traditions.

2022 written in sparklers
2022 written in sparklers. Photo by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

For Silvester 2021, fireworks are banned in most parts of Germany – not to mention that nightclubs are shut, along with many other leisure venues in different states.

But don’t let that spoil the fun: here are 10 typical German traditions to ring in the New Year, and which can be carried out at home or in a small gathering. 

Melt some cheese

Photo: DPA

Fondue is a traditional dish for Germans at New Year. Melt some cheese and dip meats and vegetables into it.

Make a resolution

Photo: DPA

Making a New Year’s resolution is no different in Germany to elsewhere. Exercising, quitting smoking, learning German – you decide.

READ ALSO: Are all New Year’s resolutions destined to fail?

Watch British television

Photo: DPA

Every New Year’s Eve German television broadcasts a British comedy sketch called Dinner for One.

It has been shown each year since 1963 which made it the most frequently repeated television show ever. It is virtually unknown in its home country.

READ ALSO: ‘Germans have kept it alive’: Dinner for One’s star’s son on the enduring legacy of a Silvester favourite

Send a card

Germans have greeting cards for nearly every occasion. Photo: DPA

Germans like to send each other cards wishing a happy new year. Join the fun.

Read the Bible

Photo: DPA

Bibelstechen, literally ‘bible poking’ involves opening up a random page of the Bible and reading a passage in it. You then discuss what that could mean for 2021.

Get a pendulum

Photo: DPA

Swinging a pendulum will also give you clues about what will happen in the new year. If you ask a question and the pendulum swings clockwise, it means yes. If it swings counterclockwise, the answer is no.

Pick a gummy bear

Photo: DPA

Das Gummibärenchen-Orakel involves picking five gummy bear sweets at random from a packet. The colour of the sweets gives an indication of the future. A red one will mean love, a yellow one wealth, hence the name, the gummy bear oracle.

Pour some lead

Photo: DPA

Bleigießen in German involves heating some lead and pouring the melted contents into cold water. The shape the lead forms will tell you what might happen in the New Year. A cross, for example could signify death.

Do a spin

Photo: DPA

In German ‘Das Drehen um die eigene Achse’ will help you out if all the omens so far from Bibles and gummy bears have been bad. Spinning turns a bad omen into a good one.

Eat Berliners

Photo: DPA.

No, we don’t mean people who live in the capital city. Filled with various fruit jams, these yeast pastries which are similar to doughnuts are also known as Pfannkuchen or Krapfen in other parts of the country. Berliners are traditionally eaten right after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Member comments

  1. “You then discuss what that could mean for 2014.”

    Well, for one thing, it may mean you should edit your 2014 articles a little more closely before trying to pass them off as 2018 articles. Nice 2014 sparkler photo, too…

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