In Germany, New Year’s Eve is known as “Silvester” as in the cartoon cat, or more likely maybe a tie to a saint by that name. James and I ushered in 2014 at the house of a local cousin’s friends. As midnight approached we lugged a crateful of firecrackers and a bottle of champagne to the top of a hill from which we had phenomenal view of the evening’s main event. At the stroke of twelve, quite possibly every person in Germany set off one firework after another. The Mainz skyline in the distance appeared to moving, and I soon realized that the lights I thought were from windows were actually fireworks. Every way we turned we could see fireworks at the edges of the field, accompanied by a steady rumble punctuated with shrill whistles and blunt pops. After maybe half an hour the roars and flashes had dwindled down to a few strolling partygoers carrying sparklers.
Our hosts had also told us that Silvester in Germany is not complete without watching “Dinner for One.” Oddly enough, this is a British black-and-white film clip that has become a German cult classic tradition. It consists of a stately elderly lady who celebrates her birthday with a dinner party accompanied by four imaginary guests. Miss Sophie instructs her butler to serve each course along with a wine using “the same procedure as every year.” This involves the butler playing the role of each guest and drinking his wine. As the short scene continues he of course becomes drunker and less coordinated, frequently tripping over the head of large tiger skin rug. Finally, the absurd dinner concludes and the lady and her butler walk arm in arm together upstairs for “the same procedure as every year.”
Well as they say here, “Guten Rutsch ins neues Jahr” which translates literally in English as “Good slip into the new year.” This has been an interesting start to what I’m sure will prove to be a year filled with new discoveries, travels, and adventures.