11 quirky German New Year traditions.

Melt some cheese

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

Make a resolution

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

Watch British television

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.

Send a card

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

Read the Bible

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 2014.

Get a pendulum

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

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

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

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

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.

Krach machen

Make some noise! The New Year is seen in (and the old year seen out) with lots of noise in Germany. Berlin in particular is famous for its disregard for health and safety with fireworks and bangers coming at you from all sides. Traditionally the noise would have come from drums and maracas.

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