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Posts Tagged ‘Silvester’

Silvester & Wunderkerzen

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Today is the last episode of our German Words Explained podcast, which has now been going for 160 episodes.

We talk about the topics that we covered, and in particular about the Käseigel.  Back in June 2007 Maria promised to make one and 158 episodes later here it is:

Ein Käseigel

To finish off the series, we explain the word Wunderkerzen.

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So now, for the last time, listen to the podcast:

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Raclette, Fondue & Bleigießen

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

In this edition of German Words Explained we take a look at three traditions associated with New Year’s Eve.

Raclette is originally a traditional Swiss dish made from cheese.  A large piece of cheese is put near a fire and is brought to melting point.  When the cheese is soft and about to melt, a layer is scraped of and eaten with bread.

The modern raclette is an electrical table-top heater.  Small dishes are filled with chopped-up vegetables, eggs, sausage rings and other small pieces of food and then covered with cheese.  These are then placed under the element of the raclette.  Many raclettes have a metal top where meat or bread can be fried, some even have stone tops for cooking steak.

Foundue is probably the most well-known outside of Germany, also being a traditional Swiss dish.  Originally made by melting cheese and often wine over a flame, many people in Germany use the same form to heat cooking oil on New Year’s Eve and cook small pieces of meat in it.  Others melt chocolate instead and dip pieces of fruit in it.

Bleigießen is definitely not to eat, it is a tradition that families carry out on New Year’s Eve.  They buy small packets of lead – often together with a special spoon.  The lead cubes are placed on the spoon and held over a candle so that they melt.  Once the lead is molten, it is dropped into cold water where it sets into a new form.  The trick is then to decipher what the form means for each person for the coming year.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Silvester

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Silvester is the last day of the year, 31st December, known in English as New Year’s Eve.

Many people hold or visit parties on this evening, others spend the evening with their families at home.

Popular things to eat on this evening are raclette and fondue. At midnight everyone goes out onto the streets and lets of fireworks to celebrate the New Year.

A long running television programme is the Silvesterstadl shown on the public broadcast ARD, which runs for about 4 hours and contains traditional folk music as well as sketches and interviews, many of which are connected with Silvester traditions.

The most well-known television programme on this day must, however, surely be Dinner for Onea 20-minute sketch with Freddie Frinten and May Warden which is shown every year on several channels which over the years has become a traditional part of Silvester viewing for a large part of the German population.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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