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Traditional German New Year's Eve customs

The end of the year is approaching, and in Germany that means getting ready for New Year's Eve - a night of festivities, traditions and good intentions. Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a hotspot for New Year's Eve celebrations, but New Year's Eve customs are widespread throughout the country. In this article, we will explain some of the traditional German New Year's Eve customs that characterize Berlin and Germany.

1. Lead pouring (Lead Pouring):

One of the most popular customs in Germany is lead pouring. This custom is often practiced with family or friends. Small pieces of lead are heated over a candle or fire and then thrown into a bowl of cold water. The resulting shape is interpreted and is said to provide information about the future of that year. For example, a heart shape may indicate an upcoming love story, while a ring may indicate upcoming engagements or weddings.

2. Fireworks (Fireworks):

New Year's Eve without fireworks is unthinkable in Germany and especially in Berlin. Starting at midnight, the sky lights up with colorful explosions and lights all over the country. Many people gather at famous places like the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to marvel at the spectacular fireworks. The fireworks symbolize the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.

3. Dinner for One:

Another staple of the German New Year's Eve tradition is the "Dinner for One" skit. This short film, often broadcast on television, features a whimsical story of a servant playing the roles of four guests at an imaginary birthday dinner. Although the skit was produced in England, it has gained cult status in Germany and is popularly seen every New Year's Eve.

4. The Lucky Pig (Lucky Pig):

The Lucky Pig is a popular symbol of good luck in the New Year. It is presented in the form of marzipan pigs, chocolate pigs or as decorations at New Year's Eve parties. The pig represents prosperity and good luck, and it is often given as a small gift to friends and family.

5. First bread of the year (First Bread of the Year):

In some regions of Germany, it is traditional to share the first bread of the year. The bread is eaten together on New Year's Day to symbolize good luck and prosperity. Sometimes a piece of the first bread of the year is also kept to keep away evil spirits.

6. The New Year's Swim:

A brave custom practiced in some coastal towns is the New Year's swim in ice-cold water. People often gather on the beach on New Year's Day to dive into the cold water. This brave act is believed to start the New Year with freshness and vitality.


German New Year's Eve customs, be it lead pouring, fireworks or dinner for one, are an important part of German culture and tradition. They bring people together to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year with hope and joy. Whether you are in Berlin or elsewhere in Germany, these customs are a fascinating way to experience New Year's Eve and discover the country's rich culture. We wish you a Happy New Year and good luck in the coming year!

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