The holidays were a bit crazy for me, but now I’m back to work and settling into a routine again. Now that I’m back to writing, I thought I’d share a bit of what I did over my Christmas vacation.
We had a small New Year’s Eve (or Silvester) party at our apartment, which required a cleansing of the apartment, with a bit of help from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. It looked great, if only I could keep it that way.
There are some typical New Year traditions in Germany that are a bit different for me. I’m used to staying up and making a bit of noise at midnight, but other than that, my American New Year’s Eves have been fairly uneventful. Germans, however, don’t just make a bit of noise. They set off an crazy amount of fireworks in the streets. It puts the Fourth of July to shame.
Now, our street was much quieter than Berlin, but we did shoot off fireworks for awhile.
I inherited my mother’s nervousness around them, however, and I made Mr. Faultier get the kids’ packs instead. Though, I’m not sure I agree with what the Germans think are appropriate for kids.
It was also strange to me that we could pick these up at the grocery store. Here, stores are allowed to sell fireworks just for a few days before Silvester. But that’s still a difference from St. Louis where they’re illegal all year round. You have to drive to a different county to get them. Here, we could just pick them up with our groceries.
We also attempted another tradition – Bleigießen. It means “lead pouring” and involves melting bits of lead and dropping them into water to see what your future will be like. Whatever the metal blob kind of looks like is supposed to symbolize how the new year will go for you. As someone who had to get tested for lead poisoning as a child because of shady miniblinds (pun originally not intended, but I’m keeping it), this worried me more, initially, than the fireworks. Last year, when I tried it for the first time, I was adamant about washing my hands immediately afterwards.
This year, however, I don’t think we actually got lead in our packs, because they would not melt. I posted pictures to Snapchat (FaultierBeauty) but failed at actually saving them to my phone. We bought our packs from Tedi, but we talked to someone else who got some from Kik, and they also didn’t work. Did anyone actually have functioning Bleigießen this year? Please tell me where you got it from, because I don’t want to be disappointed again next year.
Finally, a true German Silvester would not be complete without watching Dinner for One. What is Dinner for One, you ask? It’s a 10-minute, comedic sketch, entirely in English that is actually super depressing and is played every year in Germany for New Year’s Eve. I really do not understand why it is popular, but it is.
It features an old woman who has her butler pretend to be her four dead friends at a dinner party, and as the dinner continues, the butler gets increasingly drunk as he has to drink for four people at each course. I’m still trying to figure out German humor. Even though it showed at a dozen different times, we still managed to miss it on TV. But we were able to pull it up on YouTube. You can watch it, too.
What are some of your New Year’s Eve traditions? Can you beat lead melting and depressing comedy sketches?