New Year's Eve fireworks in Marburg
While Christmas is a family affair in Germany, Silvester is big party time. From clubs and pubs to fancy restaurants and posh hotels, everyone will have an event that night. Private parties are going on everywhere. Tickets for concerts and theatre performances must be booked well in advance.
At midnight, having a glass of champagne is a ‘must’.
Since mid-winter is usually wet and cold, Silvester is not the perfect season for street parties. Usually people party indoors and come out into the streets only for a short while around midnight. The big exception is Berlin – since the German reunification, the area around Brandenburger Tor has become the No. 1 hotspot for New Year’s Eve partying in the whole country. (I have never been myself, though, mass partying is not my piece of cake. Probably I’m too old for that.)
Fireworks are lit all night long, with a climax ad midnight. The shops are allowed to sell firecrackers from December 29. In those days you better keep a wide distance from youths with lighters or there may be an unexpected firecracker exploding next to you.
German firecrackers are all TÜV-tested, thus as safe as they could be. The users, however, are not TÜV-tested and stupidity is omnipresent, so take care. Firecrackers plus alcohol plus human idiocy make a dangerous mix. Silvester is peak season for fire brigades, ambulances and emergency care.
Walking city centres close to midnight on Silvester can be an unpleasant adventure if you are not into this kind of thing. A friend once told me how they sought refuge next to an ATM behind safe glass doors until the worst was over. The next morning all streets, parks and gardens will be a big mess and full of burnt out rockets and firecracker leftovers.
Feel free to assume that I am not a big fan of Silvester...
A Must: Watch “Dinner For One”
“Dinner For One” is a rather old (1960s?) British TV sketch with Freddie Frinton and May Warden. In Britain, the 11 minute movie is almost forgotten. In Germany, however, it is a cult classic and New Year’s Eve is unthinkable without it. All Third Canals broadcast it once or twice that night. You can easily watch it half a dozen times that evening if you want to. This is about the only film shown on German TV in English with neither dubbing nor subtitles. Everyone knows the story of Miss Sophie and her butler James by heart.
Miss Sophie, a rich English lady, is celebrating her 90th birthday. As usual, she has invited her four old friends and faithful admirers for dinner. Unfortunately there is a little problem… All four are long deceased, the last of them died 20 years ago. The butler, who is hardly younger than she is, has to play all four of them, respond to the toasts (“Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?” – “Same procedure as every year, James!”) and… drink for four. From course to course he gets more and more drunk, which leads to hilarious incidents. Miss Sophie is a lady, though, who always keeps her countenance…
Yes it is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1v4BYV-YvA&feature=related