New Year’s Eve in Austria is amazing. Seriously, this group knows how to celebrate. We start by eating six courses of awesome for dinner.
After dinner, we roll ourselves outside, have a few drinks and await the countdown. As soon as the clock strikes 12, guests of the hotel (and several locals) cheer, kiss their family and then begin greeting everyone else in attendance. They stop at each person, smile, extend their hand and offer a wish for happiness in the new year. It doesn’t feel forced or obligatory, it’s incredibly sweet. Even after 14 years, I still get a bit teary eyed. It’s such a genuine and joyful moment. You’d think there’d be that one guy slurring and getting all handsy but, nope, no one’s even completely drunk yet. And, it’s not like I’m from a town in the US that’s full of serial killers or anything, I just can’t think of a time when we do this, at least not to this degree and with this level of sincerity. I love this tradition.
Also, when the clock strike 12, the fireworks start. Practically every house, hotel, and business participates. Our hotel is close to the center of the village and from the balcony, where all the guest gather, we have the advantage of being completely surrounded by an amazing show. This is another tradition I love.
There isn’t much I don’t thoroughly enjoy about celebrating this holiday in Austria.
There are a few things I don’t quite understand.
One of Volker’s favorite, most loved tradition is one that I can’t wrap my head around. Every year on or around New Year’s Eve, Germans and Austrians gather in front of the TV and watch Dinner for One. It’s a short British film about a woman’s 90th birthday party. Her dinner guests are make-believe (because they died years ago) and her butler gets hammered as he drinks all the cocktails he serves to the not-really-there people to keep up the charade. Volker has watched and loved this show every New Year’s Eve for as long as he can remember. I watched it with him for the first time about 14 years ago and as he laughed, I sat there with my mouth open commenting about how bizarre it was. I left a comment on a blog, summing it up like, “Happy New Year, your friends are all dead and your butler has alcohol poisoning. Prost!” Volker was NOT amused…something about me being insensitive and missing the fun in British-type comedy…something, something rude…something, something asshat. My apologies. He sat there with his arms folded all sulky and said I should “amend” my comment. That’s not how the internet works, Volker. I’m never going to ‘get’ this tradition but next time I watch it, I’ll at least
try to keep my mouth shut.
Update: I totally folded. I went to the site and added an amended comment with Volker looking on and laughing hysterically. See! The guy has a weird sense of humor.
The other thing, and Volker secretly agrees with this one, is marzipan. I love sugar as much as the next guy but I can’t eat this. Just typing ‘marzipan’ caused my face to scrunch up in a yuck expression like I just gulped down some 3-month-old milk. We did find one redeeming quality…
During a six course meal, you need a few dinner crafts to keep busy. It started off as a super cute good luck pig and ended being a “dinosaur cyclops” – the other eye rolled under a bench. It should be there a while. I’m not so sure this stuff decomposes.
As long as I have the good fortune of spending New Year’s here, I’ll happily watch a 90-year-old celebrate her birthday with a bunch of dead people while I chow down on marzipan pigs all night long. It’s a small price to pay.
What’s your favorite New Year’s tradition?
American German – language lesson #102
Frohes neues Jahr (froy-es noy-es yeah-rr) Happy New Year!!