HOW GERMANS CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE

Hi my lovely readers!

Phew, Christmas 2021 is more or less behind us and New Year’s Eve or as we call it in Germany Silvester is approaching quickly.

In Germany we tend to spend New Year’s Eve like most people around the world. We go to or host parties and at midnight watch the fireworks. However, some of us also prefer to have a quiet night in while watching “Dinner for One”.

Still, it doesn’t matter if we party or spend New Year’s Eve only with family or a few friends, there are a a handful of traditions, games and superstitions that we follow to have the best start to the new year.

Here are some of the most common German New Year’s Eve traditions!

LEAD POURING

Photo by Sten Ritterfeld on Unsplash

Lead pouring is a fun little game that can tell you your future. You put a small piece of lead on a spoon and warm it up over a candle. Once the lead has melted and liquefied, you pour it into a mug with cold water. Some sort of weird figure will form that tells you what the new year and future will bring.

BERLINER

The German stuffed doughnuts aka Berliner are a New Year’s staple. Normally these delicious bakery goods are stuffed with jam and are eaten at midnight. However, one always has a mustard filling on New Year’s and 11.11.

The person lucky enough to bite into the Berliner with mustard will be blessed with good fortune for the next year.

LUCKY CHARMS

There’re a few lucky charms that are supposed to bring good luck that we carry with us, gift to other people and decorate our houses with. These are: little piggies, horseshoes, lady bugs, shamrocks, chimney sweepers and toadstools.

Photo by 9883074 on Pixabay

Often you can buy marzipan piggies, flowers pots decorated with lucky charms and 1 cent pieces with a tiny lady bug attached to it.

FISH SCALE IN THE WALLET

Christmas dinner can vary in Germany. Some eat goose, some eat potato salad with Wiener Wuerstchen and others eat carp. My grandma always used to eat carp and kept some of the fish scales for herself and for us to put into our wallets as it’s believed that when you put them in your wallet you will always have enough money and money will come to you.

RED UNDERWEAR

Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

The idea originates from Italy, but is very popular in Germany, too. We wear red underwear to welcome the new year. I have no idea why, but it’s supposed to bring good luck and fortune and who doesn’t want that, right?

DINNER FOR ONE

Another classic is to watch Dinner for One. This TV show is always running on New Year’s Eve and millions of people watch it year after year. It’s a must such as watching Home Alone during Christmas.

It’s a two-hander black-and-white English comedy sketch that lasts only 18 minutes. It’s about an English lady celebrating her 90th birthday and her butler struggling to help her celebrate as he is causing plenty of funny mishaps and accidents.

Dinner for One is cult in Germany, but although it’s an English sketch it’s not really known by the Brits.

NO WASHING

Photo by RyanMcGuire from Pixabay

Another superstition is linked to dirty laundry. Yes, you heard me. In Germany many people don’t do any laundry between Christmas Eve and New Year’s, because it brings bad luck or washes your luck away.

CRACKERS

We don’t have Christmas crackers, but New Year’s crackers. They’re similar with stupid and funny jokes and little silly gifts inside. But we don’t (luckily 😉 get the paper hats. We were proper once like a bowler with glitter!

PROSIT NEUJAHR!

Photo by TerriC from Pixabay

We count down to midnight and when the clock strikes twelve we all say “Prosit Neujahr!” which basically means happy new year, toast with a glass of sparkling wine and kiss our loved once.


How do you spend New Year’s Eve and are there any traditions that you can’t do without?

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9 thoughts on “HOW GERMANS CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE

  1. Ooh this was really interesting! I love hearing about different traditions from around the world for various holidays and celebrations. The red underwear is a cool one! Even if you’re not sure why it’s a thing haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thought. We have enough other weird traditions. 😉 My favourite must be eating the Berliner actually. We all eat it at the same time to see who gets the one filled with mustard.

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  2. Very funny!!! Strangely, in Romania, we have also some of these traditions..and the same lucky symbols – ladybug, 4-leaf clover. I love 31st of December, it is magical for me.

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    1. Some of them are weird for sure 🙂 I think across Europe we have a lot of overlapping or similar traditions. I think the ladybug or 4-leaf clover is sweet.

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