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Sunday, January 29, 2012


This post is quite late considering New Years was a while ago, but I still wanted to share my awesome German New Year's experience with the blogging world.

My parents were kind enough to bring me to Germany during my winter break so that I could see family and enjoy Berlin once again.  My family on my mom's side lives in the very north of Germany in Schleswig-Holstein.  They're either on the North Sea coast on the mainland or on the Island Föhr, which is part of the Frieisan Islands in the North Sea off the coast of Denmark.  The island itself has actually changed ownership between Germany and Denmark several times.  I'm not intending to give a history lesson though (at least not now).

So, I got to spend New Year's with my family and enjoy the North German tradition I've never experienced before!

Here's some of what I saw leading up to New Year's:
Silvester good luck plants
Clover plants with different lucky symbols such as chimney sweeps, pigs, mushrooms, and more

Captain Morgan Santa
Leftovers from Christmas, but who can resist a picture of Santa in a Captain Morgan pose?

Silvester drinks
Cocktails!  All along the Main street there were booths with drinks.  They're set up at least a week before New Years.  A bunch of them are given awesome regional names.  I went for the Foehrer Fischer Punch and my mom got the Wyker Wahnsinn...hers was better than mine, but both tasty!

The stage where some groups performed on New Year's Eve/New Years.  The Caption translates to "Tomorrow is today(now) yesterday and this year is last year"

Silvester Schornsteinfeger
Schornsteinfeger!  Know here as Chimney Sweeps.  They're a sign of good luck and this group was dressed up collecting money for charity.

Silvester drinks
There I am enjoying one of the hot drinks.  I'm pretty sure they spiked mine with some extra rum.

Silvester Schornsteinfeger
My mom and I with one of the Schornsteinfegers

Silvester Schornsteinfeger selling Berliners
A baker outside his shop dressed as a Schornsteinfeger.  He's selling Berliners (a kind of Jelly donut - think the Famous JFK "Ich bin ein Berliner" quote), which are traditional for New Years.  Apparently they aren't just filled with jelly, cream, or chocolate - some have ketchup and mustard in them!

Silvester Schornsteinfeger
Me with a Schornsteinfeger.  I gave her some money and she put some soot on my nose for good luck.  Pretty sure I'll try to dress up as one next year and see how that goes over in America.

That was all before any of the actual real celebration.  Now, I went to another town a few miles inland and my mom stayed in Wyk for a dinner party type celebration.  My mom's cousin drove me to meet up with his daughters (hereinafter my cousins) and their boyfriends for some Rummelpott.  What's Rummelpott you ask?  It's a lot like what we do on Halloween with Trick-or-Treating, but it's for New Year's Eve and tradition in the Very north of Germany and parts of Denmark.  Some differences:

  • It's for adults and kids
  • Kids still get candy (but Germany candy which is loads better)
  • Adults get alcohol
  • You don't say "trick-or-treat", you sing
That's right, I was dressed up, singing at almost midnight, and drinking at almost every house (though to be honest, I did toss about half because I didn't want to be drunk and lost on a part of the island I didn't know).
It was so much fun!  I wish Americans knew how to celebrate like Germans do.  My Opa was so excited that I'd be doing something he did every year living on the island.  I'll post some links at the end that might explain the tradition a little better than I did.

Here's some pictures from New Year's Eve/New Years:
Silvester fireworks
My mom's view of fireworks

Some of the people dressed up outside our family's hair salon singing and celebrating

Halloween is my favorite holiday...but this may come close to beating that out

Here we are, the "funf Vampiren".  My cousins even made up a great song that we sang.  2 verses - that's talent.

Spongebob Schwarmkopf (literally Spongebob Spongehead) - popular worldwide

This is a more traditional German Christmas tree that was in one of the houses.  Spaced apart branches with candles - a little different than the very full trees we tend to have.

I was a little disappointed by the sign, but it makes sense.  English is so prevalent there.  They do actually say "Ein guten Rutsch in Neues Jahr" (a good push into the new year)

My cousin Bianca and her boyfriend Yannik

The group of us again.  We found a 6th vampire at a bar (he's wedged between my 2 cousins)

Some of the others in costumes we ran into.  I needed a picture because the girl on the left is "Mein kleinen grunen Kaktus" from the Comedian Harmonist song!

My cousin Yvonne and her boyfriend Malte

Me!  Note the glass around my neck so we knew what was going in the drinks - and the paper around it so we could be more discreet about dumping some out.

I am so glad for that windmill being all lit up and visable

Back in Wyk, bands were playing and the streets were PACKED!  What a celebration!

I'm so glad I got to experience this firsthand.  I hope I can go back again someday for this celebration!

Here's the links I promised:  (sorry, that's only in German)
Okay, I failed a little with links.  There's other stuff online if you want to read more, I promise...I just can't find it now.


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