One more day and its finally Silvester ! We are on the last stretch of 2018 and soon a brand new year comes. Silvester happens on December 31st, the last day of the year and day before New Year. This day is observed and widely celebrated here in Germany. I don’t know why but whenever I think of Silvester, I think of something sparkling, something flashy, loud and silver or gold. In real life, this day doesn’t come as flashy and loud as it seems to be. Believe me, after New Year’s eve, the streets are quiet and people are sleeping-in, most of us are staying indoors ( or if we’re not on the road) because its cold outside and nothing much is going on. It’s also the time where frost comes and covered the decaying branches with blanket of snow and turns everything into something nice..to look at! It’s a beautiful sight to watch but the inner side of me screams! I don’t even feel merry and bright anymore when I think about snow and the freezing temperatures. I don’t like the cold much and everyday I am already dreaming of Spring. Can anyone relate?
This is gonna be our 3rd Silvester , time flies remembering our first Silvester here, and last year while we celebrated New Year in Austria, in the mountains where we enjoyed the views of snow-capped Alps and ogling the crystals in Swarovski in Wattens.
There’s nothing new to tell about cold German Winter weather, it’s been cold, grey, cloudy and rainy almost everyday.We have minus temps but we haven’t had a white carpet of snow that we can officially called “White Christmas “or Winter Wonderland. This new tradition came like a surprise to me because normally, I haven’t even heard of this, it doesn’t exist in the East, especially in South East Asia.
For the past days after celebrating not only 1 but TWO— days of Christmas, (December 25 and 26), days went lazy, slow, unhurried and just a series of eat, sleep, make a mess days for the little one. Meeting up with friends, eating and drinking on repeat and series of brunches outside and some year-end shopping spree keep us motivated to wait for the new year.With almost 1.5 weeks of vacation, we had to think of something to do everyday, especially to entertain the little one.I personally needed this break but with a super active 4 year old who wakes up early and play Lego , Cashier and shopping, we can never sleep-in for so long!
Anyway, if you’ve missed my post about last year’s Silvester, here’s some tiny bits of info about it. The tradition of Silvester comes from a 4th century Roman saint: Pope Silvester I (before I thought it spelled Sylvester). Besides the fact that he served as pope from 314 to 335, there’s very little information in internet about Silvester, though several legends have sprung up around his name. One, sown in a forged account called “Donation of Constantine,” claimed that he had been miraculously cured of leprosy.
The feast of St. Sylvester—that is to say, his burial ceremony—took place on December 31, 335. When the Gregorian calendar was reformed in 1582, the last day of the year was placed on December 31st, combining Silvester’s feast day with what we now call New Year’s Eve. Despite the shared date, most German Silvester traditions actually stem from a far older pagan celebration called Rauhnächte.
Here, just after Christmas, fireworks flooded supermarkets and each one has a special offers and sale! Fireworks is legal here in Germany but it is not so frequent to see large fireworks display. I suddenly remember the Guinness World Record Fireworks display in Kuwait where my neck cramped from almost an hour of unbelievable fireworks, all for the sake of Pyromania! Here on the other hand, fireworks are enjoyed in every backyard on New Year’s eve and really just for personal satisfaction. You don’t feel like in a competition with your neighbor of who has the loudest, grandest and probably the eardrum breaking noise.Here I observed, some are not even bothered by it because the roller shutters of the windows are already down.
Large fireworks display are happening mostly in Berlin, where most of street parties for the countdown is also held, right in front of Brandenburg Tor, or in other key cities like Hamburg or Munich. What is interesting thing about Silvester here in Germany, right after the loud noises and firecrackers, people tidy up their own mess, they don’t leave the streets swamped with fireworks litter. But definitely no people drive their cars with dangling cans and making noises! I saw in the news that there’s even a call to lessen the fireworks display in New Year’s eve to lessen the injuries caused by it and the issue of environment protection where approx. 4,500 fine dust is bound to be released in the air in welcoming 2019.
Many restaurants also offers many Silvester parties. If you are guilty of all the calories you’ve been gaining from all the christmas foods, then you can just opt for Silvester snacks, which is also a norm here. Young people who party like an animal till dawn and dance the new year away. Another common tradition for families as well is eating “a la Carté “Raclette”! I love this way of dining together with stove range or hot-grill stove in the center of the table and every one has each own pans and the chance to “cooked”their own meal based on their choices. This reminds me as well of Korea’s Shabu-Shabu and Fondue which is also a favourite New Year’s choice.My first Raclette experience was in Netherlands this year with my Dutch family where we have different cut cheeses, meat cuts, chicken shawarma slices, würsts (sausages) , champignons ( mushroom), omelette, bacon,salads, and veggies. It is super “Gezellig” (Dutch) and “Gemütlich” (German) . These are two foreign words means “coziness, homey , warm and fulfilling” of dining or eating. As much as I want to do Raclette when I want, I just can’t because we are only 3 in the family! Raclette though applies to big families, or if you host dinner parties or brunches during holiday season!
Another common New Year threat in Silvester and New Year is Doughnuts (Krafpen) filled up with sweet marmalade or if you’ve got lucky, you have it in mustard sauce. My wish is that Krispy Creme opens up here in Ingolstadt then we are happy! Last but not the least, if it happens that you visit Germany in Silvester or during New Year, don’t panic when people greets you with these infamous yet really unique greetings:
“Wir wünschen einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr”! (We wish you a happy new year.)
” Ich wünsche einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr ! “(I wish you a happy new year.)
So , how was your year so far? Are you ready to have a good slide in 2019?
What are your unique New Year traditions in your country?
Happy New Year everyone!
Until then , Tschüss!
5 thoughts on “Frostbite and Silvester”
It sounds like a lovely celebration and a good distraction from the cold, though I agree with you that spring is sorely missed at this time of year. Thanks for the history – all new to me. I wish you many days of cozy warmth. 😀
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Here in AD being an expats and staying for holidays like this means brunches, mallings (winter wonderland theme) and family events especially for kids. For single people they can always have the bars or clubs to go to with their friends or if they’re into nature it’s time to hike up the mountain while it’s still cooler weather.
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