Gutes Neues Jahr! It was our first New Year celebration in Germany- last year we were in the States with family- and we enjoyed learning about more traditions and customs.
We noticed that the wishes for the new year included, "Good luck," and many lucky images are associated with the holiday. Clover, mushrooms, chimney sweeps (chim chim chiroo), pigs, hedgehogs! I don't know why they're considered lucky but then again, I don't know why we think horseshoes and rabbits' feet (yuck) are lucky.
Part of the tradition is to take small metal figures of these lucky objects, melt them on a spoon over a candle flame and then dump it in cold water to see what shape forms. Based on the resemblance, you look up your fortune for the coming year. Our friends introduced this to us and we had some laughs trying it. Unfortunately, all the objects came out as unrecognizable blobs and 2010 remains murky. Guess we'll just have to wait and see...
Trick-or-treating is also popular on New Year's Eve (but not on Halloween). Kids and adults dress up and come to houses singing songs and asking for "sweets." The kids want cookies and candy of course and the adults want alcohol. They all sing pretty long songs, some of which are made up just for the evening. How can you say "no" to such creativity?
At midnight, everyone goes outside to light off fireworks. It seems uncharacteristic of the safety-conscious Germans but at nearly every house people stand in the street with their drinks in one hand lighting off, sometimes quite large and impressive, fireworks. It's quite festive to look around the sky and see it lit up in all directions. I don't think anyone in our town could have sleep through the new year!
So here we are, in a new year and a new decade looking forward with excited anticipation to what adventures the year will bring. I hope you enjoyed a festive celebration and that this new year will bring many good things your way too.