Aki-chan's Life

Bonus - New Year's Eve
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It's time to end things - for this year that is. It's New Year's Eve or "Silvester" as we call it here. Yet another time to bring friends and/or family together, though certainly less festive and more party-like, though I guess it varies a lot on how big a party it is.
Common for dinner are Raclette and Fondue, both meals that take a while since everyone prepares a bit of their food at the table, so they are a good way to pass the time until midnight.
Actually, while I didn't mention them then, they are also common on Christmas Eve, though especially Fondue, I personally associate more with New Year's Eve.

What I also didn't mention in the Christmas part, while not on the level of the US holiday specials, the public TV channels especially have their set that they repeat every year, like fairy tale movies and adaptations of Astrid Lindgren stories for the children, some comedy skits like one of German comedian Loriot parodying a families Christmas.
But nothing comes close to the king of traditional repeats on New Year's Eve, the British sketch "Dinner for One" (which apparently isn't even all that known in English speaking countries?) about an old lady celebrating her 90th birthday and her butler taking the place of all her deceased friends. I guess its catchphrase(s) "same procedure as last/every year" makes it an obvious choice to repeat yearly, but thing is, it's not just repeated once, it's even aired at several times on several channels (granted, they used to be regional channels, but even when I was a kid you could already get more than one of those) and supposedly half the country is catching at least one of those showings.
It's also remarkable that while pretty much everything is usually dubbed in German, this one isn't even subbed, there's just a German actor introducing, giving the premise and a translation of the important lines, while the rest is entirely in English. Though I guess that doesn't really matter, as a child (and I guess non-English speaking adult), it's already funny enough to see the butler's antics, (not) tripping over the tiger fur's head as he stumbles around, the voices he makes and the general way he's imitating the guests as he keeps getting more and more drunk (not even sure if I got that much as a kid) as he's toasting to the lady as each of the guests for every course of the meal. And it doesn't hurt when you can understand the dialog, especially in the end. ;)
Asides from the repeats, it's been colorized, remade with contemporary comedians or even puppets with their own gags thrown in (mostly as part of their own New Year's specials) and, given that it's originally a stage act, reenacted in theaters. But nothing comes close to the black and white 1960's original.

I guess the day is also a bit of a highlight for the superstitious type. There's quite a bit of "good luck" imagery going around, like four leaf clovers, chimney sweepers, "luck pigs", and of course the fireworks are based on "scaring away evil spirits" for the new year.
Kinda tying into that is a party activity, "Bleigießen", where people melt lead over a candle, dunk it into water and try to interpret the form as something related to the new year. I'm not sure how many are actually doing that unironically, I did it at most once or twice and it was certainly with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge attitude and I'm not sure if you can even do that any other way. I mean, I like to think I have a decent imagination, but I have no idea how anyone is meant to actually interpret anything into the randomly strained globs that come out of it.

And yeah, then there's the big one, the fireworks. In the last three days of the year, various types of firecrackers and skyrockets can be legally bought in stores everywhere to anyone (above 18), though for the young one's, you'd rather get sparklers(? Seems to be the right word) or other harmless ones that just make light/sounds. While it's not allowed to fire them before the New Year, there's of course always someone you hear during that time, but that's usually far and in between.
Especially compared to when it finally strikes midnight on the 31th and you have entire cities lighting up in the fireworks (and engulfed in their smoke) that everybody is launching.
Personally, I'm way to stingy to literally blow up my money, but I don't mind to watch. ;)

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