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All you ever wanted to know about GERMANY!

Deutsche Kultur

January 1st, 2010

Happy New Year! oops, I mean Silvester @ 12:30 am


We have spent the last 2 hours watching fireworks:  first just a few set off from this house or that parking lot, increasing in intensity til about 11:45, then the professional displays from the Schloss and down at Kindsbach.  The church bells rang in the new year at midnight, and still the rockets went off.  They are being shot from almost every street and every house (it seems).  All over our little valley, the whole of Landstuhl, Melkerei, Kindsbach, Ramstein.  Sparkly ones and rockets shooting up red tails, green balls, blue rings, loud white bangs.  And whistles, all kinds, some with a single tone, others with a sort of twirly sound.  Now, at about 12:30, it's starting to tail off.

For several days, I noticed rockets and fireworks for sale at Aldi and Kaufland, but my father's stern admonishments about the dangers of fireworks still ring in my ears and I admire them from across the street and valley.

I've never seen anything like this before!

Xposted to mw_europe 

December 31st, 2009

Silvester Foods @ 05:44 am


Germany celebrates Silvester with fireworks, champagne, special foods, and boisterous social gatherings. 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 Teutons. One of the most famous firework displays can be found at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Private celebrations with firecrackers and rockets are also common.

As an American put it: "If you were in Germany and had forgotten that it was New Year’s Eve, you might think a war had broken out." The increasing pop-pops, loud booms, and the smell of sulfur reach a climax at midnight of December 31st, when everybody in the country simultaneously shoots off rocket-style fireworks and other explosives. Other than in countries like the USA, public drinking is not prohibited which makes for a fun setup between party mood, corks popping off champagne bottles and fireworks on German streets at midnight.

Traditional Silvester foods include special seafoods, soups, pork, raclette or fondue and a particular kind of baked item -- a Berliner -- that might be called a "jelly doughnut" in English.

Seafood for dinner on New Year's Eve has been a long-standing tradition. Particularly popular is the New Year Eve Carp (Silvesterkarpfen). The carp can be baked, pan-fried, grilled, or smoked. Other seafood, such as trout, salmon, crab, sturgeon, eel, lobster, crayfish, and oysters, are also favorites.

Good Luck Pig 
The pig has long been a symbol for good luck and well-being. Because of this, many people believe that eating a meal with pork will bring luck in the coming new year. Such meals include Schnitzel, Bratwurst, any kind of wurst made with pork, pork roast, Sauerkraut with Kassler Rippchen, etc. For those who prefer not to eat pork on New Year's Eve, sweet alternatives, such as Marzipan-Pigs (Marzipanschweine) or pig-shaped chocolates, are believed to bring the same benefits. ;)

One of the most popular New Year's Eve foods in many parts of Germany is a bowl of soup: lentil soup (Linsensuppe), pea soup (Erbsensuppe), bean soup (Bohnensuppe), or carrot soup (Möhrensuppe). According to a long-standing tradition, these soups are supposed to bring blessings and wealth for the new year. Also, a fully-eaten bowl of lentil soup is supposed to guarantee plenty of small change in one's pocket. 

Salt & Bread 
An old tradition in Sachsen (Saxony), specifically in the Ore Mountains, is to place some salt and bread under a tablecloth and keep it overnight into New Year's Day. This is believed to prevent any times of hunger in the coming year. 

Breads & Cakes 
There are many baked goods that are popular for New Year's Eve. Formed breads and cakes, such as New Year's pretzels, braids, and wreaths, are popular during this time. Pretzels and wreaths are thought to represent togetherness, limitlessness, luck, and blessings. 

Fondue is a communal dish shared by all guests. One dips bite-sized food into a hot sauce or liquid. In some cases, the food is cooked in the hot liquid. In others, the hot sauce simply coats the food. There are 5 kinds of fondue: 

Cheese Fondue - A variety of cheeses are melted with spices and wine. Guests dip bread cubes into the melted cheese mix. 
Meat Fondue - This is the most popular kind of fondue in Germany. Small cubes of raw meat are placed onto long fondue forks and dunked into hot oil until cooked. The cooked meat is dipped into various spicy sauces before eating.  
Chinese Fondue - Similar to the meat fondue, except instead of cooking the meat cubes in oil, they are cooked in broth. Spicy sauces are used for dipping the cooked meat.  
Vegetable Fondue  - Guests place bite sized vegetables onto their elongated fondue fork. The vegetables are dipped into a batter, then placed in the fondue pot, where they are fried in hot oil.  
Chocolate Fondue  - A dessert fondue. Guests dunk fruits into melted chocolate. 

Raclette - Similar to a cheese fondue in that it involves melting cheese. Here, an electric Raclette grill is used to melt individual portions of cheese. The portions are then served to guests, who add their own seasoning, vegetables (such as boiled potatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes), and bread. 

Each family has its own Silvester traditions and traditional foods can vary between regions.

How (and where) are you spending New Year's? :)


New Year’s Eve in Germany @ 05:16 am


When the old year ends and a new one dawns, Germany celebrates. Parties and fireworks are the norm, although some people choose to spend Silvester quietly at home watching "Dinner for One" on TV. 

"Silvester" - How the day got its name: There was a Saint Sylvester, der heilige Silvester. He was pope (Papst) from 314 until he died in Rome on December 31, 335. Legend has it that he cured Roman emperor Constantine I of leprosy (after converting him to Christianity, of course), for which the grateful emperor supposedly gave the Pope the so-called Donation of Constantine, granting him extensive rights to land and power. (This gift now seems to be a forgery going back to the 8th century.) St. Sylvester's relics were moved to the Church of San Silvestro in Capite, Italy in 762. St. Sylvester's feast day, December 31, is now called Silvester in Germany.

Neujahrsbräuche - New Year’s Customs

Fireworks on New Year's Eve (Silvester) are not unique to German-speaking Europe. People all over the world use fireworks (private or government-sponsored) to welcome in the New Year and drive out evil spirits with loud noises and sparkling, flashing pyrotechnics

Dinner for One
“The same procedure as every year.” This English line has become a familiar catchphrase in Germany. It’s part of an annual New Years' custom that began in 1963 when German TV first broadcast a 14-minute British stage sketch entitled "Dinner for One” aka "Der 90. Geburtstag". This short British sketch has become a German New Year's tradition. Yet, although it is a famous cult classic in Germany and several other European countries, it's virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, including in Britain, its birthplace.

“Lead pouring” is an old practice using molten lead like tea leaves. A small amount of lead is melted in a tablespoon by holding it over a flame, then poured into a bowl of water. The resulting pattern is interpreted to predict the coming year. For instance, if the lead forms a ball, that means luck will roll your way, a cross signifies death, and so on.

In addition to champagne or Sekt (German sparkling wine), wine, or beer, Feuerzangenbowle ("flaming fire tongs punch") still is a relatively popular German New Year's drink. The only drawback for this tasty punch is that it is more complicated to prepare than a normal bottled or canned beverage. Part of the popularity of Feuerzangenbowle is based on a classic novel of the same name by Heinrich Spoerl (1887-1955) and the 1944 film version starring the popular German actor Heinz Rühmann. The hot punch drink's main ingredients are Rotwein, Rum, Orangen, Zitronen, Zimt und Gewürznelken (red wine, rum, oranges, lemons, cinnamon and cloves).

Some Germans prefer to send a New Year's card rather than a Christmas card. They wish their friends and family "Ein gutes und gesegnetes neues Jahr!" ("a good and blessed New Year") or simply "Frohes Neues Jahr!" (Happy New Year!). Some use the New Year's card to tell family and friends about events in their life during the past year.


December 29th, 2009

(no subject) @ 01:18 pm



..I was wondering if any of you could recommend some good German films where Christmas or New Year's figured..should it be a comedy, I would be twice as grateful..

..it's just that I am Russian..and I would dare to say that there is not a single mature person in Russia for whom New Year's is not closely associated with the film The Irony of Fate..

..as much as I love that film, I would also like to get familiar with the things other countries treasure during this season..

..thank you!..

December 26th, 2009

In The News: "Abwrackprämie Named Word of the Year" @ 09:05 am


'Abwrackprämie' Named Word of the Year


1. Abwrackprämie – "wrecking premium"
2. kriegsähnliche Zustände – "war-like conditions"
3. Schweinegrippe - "swine flu"
4. Bad Bank - "schlechte Bank" in German
5. Weltklimagipfel - "world climate conference"
6. Deutschland ist Europameisterin - "Germany is the [feminine] European Champion"
7. twittern – "to twitter"
8. Studium Bolognese – "Bolognese studies," a sarcastic reference to the Italian dish that reflects German universities' failure to properly integrate the Bologna education reforms
9. Wachstumsbeschleunigungsgesetz – "growth acceleration law"
10. Haste mal ’ne Milliarde? – "Can you spare a billion?"

The Society for German Language (Gesellschaft fuer deutsche Sprache - GfdS) crowned Abwrackprämie, or “wrecking premium,” the most important German word of 2009. The word was coined to describe the country’s popular cash-for-clunkers scheme, which paid people to junk their old cars as part of the government's stimulus programme. The word was chosen to represent the “linguistic chronicle of the past year,” the organisation said from its headquarters in Wiesbaden.

The second place phrase was kriegsähnliche Zustände, or “war-like conditions,” used to describe the situation faced by German troops in Afghanistan – and also an indication of the enduring taboo of referring to Bundeswehr mission there as “war.”

Meanwhile Schweinegrippe, or “swine flu” came in third place for the year’s most popular word.

This year's winning word was made popular by average Germans and advertisers, GfdS head Rudolf Hoberg said, adding that the concept was carried over from cars to furniture, washing machines and bicycles. “One breaks something and gets money for it,” he said, explaining the word’s appeal. The original Abwrackprämie offered Germans €2,500 to scrap their old cars and buy new, more environmentally friendly models. Hoberg criticised the second place word, though, saying it trivialised reality. “Of course we’re in a war there,” he said, referring to Afghanistan.

Other words on the list are very recent editions to the German vocabulary. The fifth place Weltklimagipfel, or “world climate conference,” threatened to collapse on Friday as the word list was released, while the Bundestag approved the ninth place word Wachstumsbeschleunigungsgesetz, or “growth acceleration law” on Friday too.

Each year the GfdS selects words and phrases made popular by the German media and public discussion, voting for the term that best embodies the zeitgeist. This year they chose among some 350 entries.

Hoberg said he was particularly amused by the creative solecism in the phrase Deutschland ist Europameisterin, or “Germany is the [feminine] European Champion,” used to describe the women’s national football team victory in the European championships.

Haste mal 'ne Milliarde?, or "Can you spare a billion," was an ironic take on how the financial crisis has changed how Germans think of money. “In the last year we’ve started thinking in billions,” he said. “Millions are peanuts today.”

Last year's #1 word was Finanzkrise, or financial crisis. Seen at: http://www.thelocal.de

December 25th, 2009

Frohe Weihnachten @ 06:25 pm

Joyeux Noël Picspam + Icons @ 01:29 am


(I'm dreaming of home...)

Hello! I hope this is allowed -- This is one of my favourite films, and I thought, due to the significant German language/actors in this film, as well as it being Christmas, that some of you might enjoy it.

Thank you! Please delete if this is not permitted. :D

December 23rd, 2009

Christmas Food? :) @ 06:24 pm


Speaking of food...

What's on your Christmas menu this year? (And where are you from?)

December 22nd, 2009

Word Of The Day ~ aufbauschen @ 10:43 am


aufbauschen - to exaggerate, blow up (fig.), hype; billow (sail), billow out, puff up; magnify

Den Berichten zufolge habe der President die Gründe für den Irak-Krieg aufgebauscht. [Zeitungsartikel] - According to the reports, the President exaggerated the reasons for the war in Iraq. [news article]

Er übertreibt gerne. - He likes to exaggerate.

übertreiben - exaggerate, overstate, embroider [fig.]
verstärken - amplify, exaggerate, reinforce


December 21st, 2009

Word Of The Day ~ auf Anhieb @ 09:26 am


auf Anhieb (idiom) - right away, straight away, straight off, right off the bat; offhand, first go

Hollywood war nicht auf Anhieb ein goldenes Pflaster. -
From the first go Hollywood wasn't paved with gold.

Das kann ich nicht auf Anhieb sagen. - I can't say offhand.

Sie haben sich auf Anhieb gut verstanden. - They got along well from the start.

von Anfang an - from the very beginning, from the start
anfangen - to start, begin

MORE> German Idioms
An idiom (= eine Redewendung) is an expression that usually can't be translated literally. Its meaning is often quite different from the word-for-word meaning. For many idioms, either you know what it means or you don't. Sometimes a German idiom is similar to its English equivalent: "He's getting on my nerves." = Er geht mir auf die Nerven. or "She's got a screw loose." = Bei ihr ist eine Schraube locker. But more often the German and the English are nothing alike: "He had the nerve to say that?" = Er hatte die Stirn, das zu sagen? (Literally, "he had the forehead..." But then the British refer to yet another location when they say, "he had the cheek..."). Continued here with more examples~



All you ever wanted to know about GERMANY!

Deutsche Kultur