New Year's: Neujahr

CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE

12 Days of German Christmas: Day 8

12 Days of German Christmas; Neujahr | www.germanyja.com

Prosit Neujahr! That’s happy New Year or Cheers to the New Year to you! Yesterday we talked about some of the Silvester traditions. Hopefully we gave you enough warning about the crazy fireworks of last night. Today, we’re here to tell you about a few more German New Year’s traditions.

First of all a good greeting to tuck in your back pocket ready to greet your German friends: “Guten Rutsch!” Rutschen means to slide so the visual picture is sliding into the New Year, but linguists think it could be from the Yiddish word for “a good beginning.”

12 Days of German Christmas; Neujahr | www.germanyja.com

One tradition associated with New Years in Germany is good luck charms. Of course Germany is not the only country with good luck wishes for the New Year, but the charms might be different shapes than you are used to. Popular choices are ladybugs, four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and pigs. Marzipan pigs, chocolate lady bugs and other trinkets in the shape of clovers and horseshoes are easy to find in the German stores this time of year.

Speaking of that, last year while I was entering a German grocery store on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, I was greeted by a woman dressed as a chimney sweep (I knew from my viewings of Mary Poppins), who gave me a 1 Euro cent coin. I must have looked like the confused American that I was, and she politely explained it was for good luck in the New Year.

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