Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Eve Rituals

Back in the Philippines, our family, as most Filipino families, religiously follow a set of traditions during New Year's Eve. Since dots or circular patterns are believed to bring more fortune and more money, my mother would have already sewed or bought for us clothes with polka dotted patterns that we should wear during that day.

Other things that we believe would bring us luck and money would be collecting at least 12 different rounded fruits that we would be displayed on the kitchen table; having loads of coins in your pockets, making loud noises (we usually have our pots and pans for this) and spending money on firecrackers, and opening all the doors and windows to invite more good fortune (not really done anymore as it invites the crooks!); and I did this more than once, I jumped high when the clock striked midnight, hoping it would help me grow taller :D

Here in Germany, there are also rituals being practiced during the New Year's Eve. Most family stays at home to celebrate the coming of the New Year. There would be champagne or sekt and usually, fondue or Raclette on the table.

There is the German Custom of Bleigiessen:

A candle is lit, and small chunks of lead are melted in a spoon held over the candle. Because of the low melting temperature of lead, this process does not take long. The molten lead is then quickly poured from the spoon into a bucket of cold water, where it hardens almost immediately. Each person tries to determine what he or she "sees" in the hardened lead figure, much like children see sheep, etc. in fluffy clouds. Often the lead figure is held up to a candle or other light, and the shape of the shadow it casts aids in this important decision. The shape of the lead determines the future of that person for the year to come. Nowadays, Silvesterblei sets can be purchased in most department stores in Germany. These kits come complete with lead figures, a spoon, and a list of possible shapes and their meanings. Read here for more.
Here's a sample lead kit.
And dont forget to watch the comedy skit Dinner for One on the television while waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Even the phrase from the skit 'the same procedure as last year' has became a popular catch phrase in Germany.

The sketch presents the 90th birthday of elderly upper-class Englishwoman Miss Sophie, who hosts a dinner every year for her close friends Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby, and Admiral von Schneider to celebrate the occasion. (Note that the plot has nothing to do with New Year's Eve, as is often incorrectly stated. There is a "Happy new year" toast, but this is purely a reference to Miss Sophie's anniversary.) The problem is that given Miss Sophie's considerable age, she has outlived all of her friends, and so her equally aged butler James makes his way around the table, impersonating each of the guests in turn.

Of course, the fireworks and firecrackers. These would be available at stores from the 28th of December. There would be table fireworks and confetti spray for kids and those fireworks and firecrackers that would light up the night. People would usually celebrate inside the house and just look out the windows when the fireworks start; there would be a handful who would brave the cold to go outside and light up and even those who would stay outside to enjoy the display.
This would be our contribution for this year!
What's with our combination of Philippine and German tradition? We usually have at least nine different circular fruits displayed in the kitchen table; we create noise with the kids using the pots and pans; we have fireworks, table fireworks and confetti spray; we make sure we have money in our wallets :D; we tend to have raclette for dinner, we skip 'Dinner for One' because the kids wanted to watch the musicals; and we would be trying our luck with bleigiessen for the first time.
Do you also follow a certain ritual during New Year's Eve?

Happy New Year to all!


Mixednuts said...

I will be happy with the raclette alone--haha. Happy New Year Raq!

Angel said...

Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing how New Year is celebrated in Germany.

In our household, we turn on all the lights (Meralco must be so happy!) as they say that this will ensure that the coming year will be bright for the family.

Still, nothing beats spending a few minutes in prayer with the whole family to give thanks for all the blessings that we have received in 2007 and to ask for guidance in 2008.

May your whole family be blessed beyond your expectations in 2008. Keep blogging!

Bradley & Liza said...

Oh this reminds me - I need to wear polka dots tonight :)

Happy New Year!

Liza's Eyeview

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

thanks for sharing raqgold,

this new yr. hindi kami nag-raclette kasi the same procedure in every yr daw, sabi ni
fondue ayaw din nya, kasi whole wohnung namin naamoy, pati curtain daw, then i am lazy

ja, we saw this film in the tv, every year...then yon concert din.

ay oo nga nakabili ako ng CD sa Dinner for One, sa Vanity magazine, 1 euro lang with the magazines, ipadala ko sa pinas, para makita nila....nakatutuwa itong film na to ano?...i am not bored watching it.

this year, wla kaming fireworks, hindi nga kami lumabas, sa wohnung lang kami....sana the goodluck air pumasok sa amin..

i do this every yr nga ON all the lights n open the front door....this yr, hindi ko nagawa.

again, thnks for sharing........

MommasWorld said...

I really enjoy hearing about the traditions of others. We have an Irish New Year’s Eve tradition called First Night. Really long explanation over on my blog. Short version is a basket full of goodies. Each item represents a form of good wishes to be bestowed on the receiver.

Now I need to find out how I can watch Dinner for One since I am not in Germany. You have intrigued me! I want to see the butler impersonating each of the missing guests.

Have a Blessed New Year. May fortune always find you.

geri said...

Wow Raq, that was some scare you had! Once Tom had severe stomache pains (which could also be a sign of heart attack) at around 4am that he warned me that I might need to call 911, that was really scary.

I hope that will be the last of your scare for a long, long, long time!

I gotta say that's one BIG pretzel :)

Let's drink to a healthier year ahead!

raqgold said...

mayi - i love raclette too esp since we love to experiment with our spread :D

angel - you are right there. spending time with the family and sharing a short thankful prayer are good too. ngayon ko lang narinig yang turning off the lights ah.

bradley and liza - so, did you get to wear your polka dots? i didnt find polka dotted instead i wore stripes, mas maganda so it would be cash and not coins, hahaha

vicki - we always go out kapag new year's eve kasi the kids wanted to watch the fireworks pero yung bunso ko got so afraid after a few minutes kaya pumasok ulit kami.

mommasworld - oh, you better watch that Dinner for Two, it's funny! i also read your blog about your new year's tradition, they are interesting, too.

geri - i have been arming myself with knowledge of how to know if that's a real attack. but i am pushing my hubby to work out and stay with his diet so i guess we would be better this year. and we did call the emergency service here!