Silvesterabend Activities and Traditions
Often the popular dish “Beef Fondue” is served. Lean beef pieces are dipped with a long fork into hot oil until they are cooked and enjoyed with a variety of dipping sauces, pickles and fresh bread. Or Raclette: You fry vegetable and bacon on a hot stone plate and below there are small pans where the special Raclette cheese is melting. When the cheese is melted pour it over small and round potatoes and enjoy with the fried veggies and pickles.
Watch “Dinner for One”
If you stay at home you might want to watch the British comedy sketch “Dinner for One” that was on TV the first time in 1963 and has become a New Years Eve classic. The program has been a New Year’s tradition since 1972 and holds the Guinness record for being the most frequently repeated TV show in history.
Make Noise as much as you can
In Germany Silvester is the night of a lot of fireworks! Making noise is key: the ruckus of fireworks, firecrackers, drums, whip-cracking and banging kitchen utensils has been driving away evil winter spirits since the days of the Germanic Teutons. The most famous firework would be in Berlin at he Brandenburger Tor but there is no party without Böller or fire crackers!
Bleigiessen or Lead Pouring
This German New Years Eve tradition of foretelling the future is still popular for a Silvesterabend. Already the Romans and Greek were using it to foretell the future.
In fact it is not the poisonous lead that is being used, it is a tin alloy. Lead figures like a piglet or clover will be melted in a spoon held over a candle. The lead will melt very fast, then poured from the spoon in a bowl of cold water where it hardens immediately.
You will see patterns and different shapes that the lead forms in the water and determinations will be made. Superstition? Maybe a little bit…
Every lead pouring kit comes with a table where all the shape transformations are listed and what these forms would tell you for the future. If the lead shape is like a flower that would mean new friendships. A tree means growth in your capabilities and a frog means that you will eventually win money in a lottery.
There is a German Poem in every German Bleigiessen Kit:
“In der Silvester-Nacht In the Silvester night
wird das Blei zum Schmelzen gebracht. you make the lead melt.
Es wird gekippt in Wasser, kalt und klar; It will be poured into the water, clear and cold,
rate, was stellen die Figuren dar? what are the figures look alike?
Schau sie an, so wie sie sind; Look at them as they are,
rätst die Gestalt du nicht geschwind. if you’re not finding the figure fast.
Halt sie hinters Licht, Hold it behind a light,
das Schattenbild dir mehr verspricht. the shade it is that will tell you more.
Kommt es dir nicht in den Sinn, If you can’t find it out yourself,
schau auf dieses Büchlein hin. look into this booklet.
Es sagt dir frank und frei, It will tell you right away
so allerlei…!” so many things…!
Shortly after midnight when everyone has had a glass of champagne or “Sekt” and wished “Prosit Neujahr” or Guten Rutsch”, when the firework is burned down and everyone feels chilly as they had been gathering outside (it is normally very cold outside on a New Years’s Eve night) a hot and spicy soup is served – the Goulash soup.