Was ist los in Franken? Dec. 31, 2015

2011 Independence Day Celebration at York Field. File photo

New Year’s Eve is celebrated with fireworks at midnight. (U.S. Army file photo)

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 31, 2015) — “Was ist los in Franken?” details off-post community events and activities occurring throughout Lower, Upper and Middle Franconia.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Germany
New Year’s Eve in Germany is known as Silvester, named after Pope Silvester, who died on Dec. 31, 335 A.D. in Rome. Silvester is celebrated many different ways in Germany, but some of the more popular traditions include:

  • Bleigiessen (“lead pouring”): melted lead is poured into a bowl of cold water and the participants try to read their future in the shape of the cooled lump of lead. Melting kits are sold in any supermarket.
  • Feuerzangenbowle: a red wine punch prepared by soaking a sugar cone with rum, setting it aflame and letting the mixture of rum and caramelized sugar drip into the punch (don’t try this at home, kids)
  • Superstitions: The motto is, “the way you start the new year, it’s going to go all year.” Old folks tell you to pay off all your debts to avoid accumulating new ones in the New Year; also, take down your laundry from the clothes line, as it may bring bad luck.
  • Food: On Silvester food is often served as a buffet, with lots of fish dishes, like salmon or cold herring salad. Restaurants offer special evenings with a several course dinner and champagne, sometimes a “midnight buffet.”
  • “Dinner for One,” a 15-minute television sketch about the 80th anniversary of an old British Lady, has become a more modern tradition among Germans, and it is shown several times on different TV stations. At midnight the stations do a countdown show and often display fireworks with classical music in the background.
  • Fire Works and fire crackers at midnight: Many Germans buy fireworks for the turning of the year, in fact this is the only time of the year they are allowed to ignite fireworks without special permission. The fireworks are only sold between Christmas and New Years Eve and should only be used around midnight on the 31st of December. Every year an estimated 100 million Euros is blown up in smoke for fireworks in Germany alone.

Flic Flac Circus in Nürnberg
Flic Flac is an acrobatic circus show, coming to Nürnberg near the Dutzendteich (Bayernstrasse 110)  through Jan. 10; the show includes motorcycle stunts, juggling, high ropes acrobats and slapstick comedy. To learn more, visit Flic Flac

Ice Rink in Gunzenhausen
Gunzenhausen has put up an ice skating rink on the Marktplatz; highlights include an ice disco and “Eisstockschiessen,” Bavarian curling. The ice rink is open until Jan. 6; to learn more, go to Eisbahn Gunzenhausen

Three Kings Holiday
Three Kings Day or Epiphany on Jan. 6 is called “Heilig Drei Könige” or “Dreikönigstag” and is a holiday in Bavaria and Austria. Traditionally members of the local church community walk around to collect money for charity projects. The group is called the Sternsinger (star singers) and is usually comprised of four children or teenagers, dressed up as the three kings and a star bearer. They ring the door bell, sing a traditional song or recite a poem or prayer and write the blessing for the year above the front door with chalk. The blessing will always contain the current year and the letters C+M+B, which stand for “Christus mansionem benedicat,” “May Christ Bless this House.” (Federal holiday)

Sleep-over at the Nürnberg Zoo
Children between 8 and 12 years can roll out their sleeping bag in front of the panorama windows and watch dolphins, manatees and sea lions as they go to sleep. The night at the zoo (including food) costs 70 euros; it starts at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 10 a.m. the next morning. To learn more, go to Tiergarten overnight

Basketball in Ansbach
The Ansbach Piranhas basketball team is playing against Friendsfactory Schwabing on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sporthalle (Gym) of the Theresiengymnasium (Schreibmüllerstraße 10, Ansbach). To learn more about the team, check out their Facebook site at Ansbach Piranhas

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