So 2018 is over. Goodbye and good riddens as far as I am concerned!
It has been a strange year, with lots of changes… I am more than ready to get off this roller coaster ride now thank you!
There was a lot of learning experiences. As with most of it, one is better off for the experience and one knows better what one wants out of life, or better yet – what you do not want! Either way, a new year is like a new chapter, a new beginning and one can, with confidence, pack the old things away to make space for the new.
So I am going to put on my Big-Girl-panties and open this new page in my book of life and in a way I am looking forward to the new beginnings.
In German tradition when the clock strikes 12 everyone is out on the street lighting and shooting off fireworks… in the time between Christmas and New year all the shops are selling them like crazy and the craziest is that people buy TONS of it. The sales of Fireworks in Germany alone for 2018 achieved the incredible number of 130+ Million Euros. Let that just sink in for a moment.
I am not talking of the mini type fireworks one gets in South Africa that barely make it a poopy meter up in the sky… noooo… these Baby’s shoot like the big fat ladies they are in extra ordinary heights.
I must admit, I am not a big fan of fireworks in the hands of untrained pyrotechnics, but it is quite a sight to behold.
The morning after… well… it is also a sight to behold.
So besides the fireworks, there are a couple of things that count towards new years traditions, mainly centred around good luck for the new year and for the fireworks in particular, chasing away the bad spirits of the old year. I guess very little people really think about where the tradition comes from, it’s just fun to blow things up.
Second thing that is quite popular here because of the intimate family and friends feel, is to have a Swiss Fondue or a Raclette. Lots of cheese with meat or veggie leftovers from Christmas that one grills on the Raclette oven or dips in your fondue.
Typically over a glass of mulled wine or eggnog. This is quite a drawn out affair, after putting your mini “dish” on the grill you have to wait till it’s done. Ideal actually to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere while waiting for the clock to go midnight… like an indoor Braai (South African Grill) if you will. Just with cheese! 🙂
Another German new years tradition is lead pouring. You melt the lead in a spoon over a candle for example and then you pour your portion into a cup or a bowl with water where it immediately cools down in some bizarre forms and shapes. The form that your piece of lead takes can be used to divine your future. The tradition of Lead pouring comes from the Romans originally, I suppose a quirky leftover of the Roman Empire Days. It is basically seen as a large joke and overall it is a relaxed and fun evening looking at the different “figures” and playing guessing games what that blob actually represents. A little like cloud watching I suppose.
Unfortunately Lead pouring is now officially illegal due to an EU regulation regulating the lead content in products… and with lead being lead… well it kind of defeats the purpose. Apparently one can do the same ritual with candle wax. If I ever do this I will report if wax really works.
Then there are some other weird things popping up during this time – lots of four leaf clovers in various sizes, little pigs (marzipan and chocolate ones) that one can share for good luck… the pig especially for fertility… lady bugs etc. etc. And houseplants with chimney sweeper stick men on them… note to self: Take a picture next time… they will never believe you!
Apparently, if you have the utmost fortune to run into a chimney sweeper on new years, make sure to rub noses with him so that you can get some of the ashes and soot onto your face. This good fortune would especially ensure that your house does not burn down in the new year. Apparently a tradition from the middle ages where it was a common occurrence for houses to burn down.
For the Germans claiming to be so logical and scientifically orientated there seems to be one heck of a lot of Folklore and superstition surrounding new years. I find it interesting, funny, yet ironically fascinating.
With this in mind, let 2019 be your great year, filled with wonder at this miracle of a world we live in. May it be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.