Have a Good Slide into the New Year!
Germans often wish one another “Ein guten Rutsch” as the New Year approaches. The expression has English connotation of “sliding well” into the new year, safe and sound. However, this phrase might actually have a completely other meaning. Some experts believe it is a corruption of the Yiddish phrase, “Guten Rosch.” Yiddish is the vernacular of European Jews – it emerged from German, but has traces of other east European languages as well as some Hebrew. In the case of “Guten Rosch,” "Rosh" refers to the Jewish New Year "Rosh Hashanah ." The Hebrew word "Rosh" means “head” or “principal.” Hence the start of the new year.
Other big traditions in Germany on New Year’s Eve:
Dinner for One: It never ceaes to amaze me that we in North America don’t know about the wonderful comedy sketch called “Dinner for One.” This 18 minute English language film features just two actors and is absolutely hilarious. Germans watch this every New Year’s Eve and everyone knows what you mean when you use the line “The same procedure as every year.” Have a look at this on YouTube!
Silvester: Since December 31 is the feast day of Saint Sylvester, Germans refer to this day always as “Silvester.” He was the Pope from 314 to 335. Here is a list of all the Silvester Parties happening in Munich:.
Carp: Yes, eating carp on Silvester is a tradition. It is often done in the style called “Blau” which means that the fish stands in vinegar for about 10 minutes. This gives it a somewhat blue color before simmering in a mix of water and special spices.
Fireworks: The normally conservative and quite Germans let loose with a flurry of fireworks which light up the sky. Every Tom, Dick or Heinrich can gets his own fireworks together and many of these pack some serious firepower!
Vonia and I will be celebrating this year in a somewhat different way. After a warm up at the Weisses Brauhaus with our Stammtisch buddies, we are attending the Silvester Gala at Munich’s Künslterhaus. After a four course dinner, we will be watching a play. Presented in the Bavarian dialect, it’s called “Dinner for Oana” – Not kidding!