New Year’s Day: The German way

New Year’s Day: The German way

Everyone knows how the Germans love to celebrate New Year’s Eve (Silvester): with fireworks, champagne and Dinner for One, but what about the country’s New Year’s Day festivities? 

January 1 in Germany 

German New Year (Neujahr), as with many other Western countries, is celebrated on January 1. Since New Year's Day is a public holiday, and many businesses are closed, it tends to be a day that family and close friends spend together.

New Year’s is celebrated as an achievement for making it through another 365 days, much like a birthday, but for everyone! 

Unlike Silvester, New Year’s Day is a quiet affair

Most Germans spend New Year’s Day recovering from the evening before and therefore don’t do much, but even those who did not have a crazy party the night before do not make the day into a huge event. These are the quiet ways in which many Germans choose to spend Neujahr.

Share a meal with family 

One of the best ways to kick-start the new year is by spending time with loved ones. Many people in Germany choose to have a celebratory meal of sorts with their close friends and family. 

This meal can be either a lunch, or an evening meal, and though it is a celebration, it's more of a cosy, intimate event than a “big deal”. The meal is also a great excuse to use up those pesky Christmas leftovers that have been taking up too much freezer space!

Or, for the people who already ate everything over the Christmas period (no judgement here!), and who enjoy traditional German food, here's a great Bavarian pork roast recipe for all the family to enjoy at a New Year's dinner:

Video: YouTube / German Recipes

And this delicious vegetarian, vegan and halal-friendly soup is the perfect way to wow family and friends for a relaxed New Year's lunch as well:

Video: YouTube / Vegan International

Watch ski jumping on TV

Aside from food, people in Germany often also watch sport on New Year's Day. From football to tennis, German people enjoy getting together to watch a match on the TV, especially during the winter when the weather is too cold for watching sport outside.

Ski jumping is often shown on TV on New Year’s Day and many people in Germany enjoy tuning in to watch the annual extravaganza. The ski jumping usually takes place at the ski resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, where there's been an annual competition almost every year since 1922 - the only exception being the years 1942 - 1945, during the Second World War.

Video: YouTube / Schi,Langlauf Rennen

See the New Year’s Day concert

There is also a classical concert in the afternoon of New Year’s Day, which lots of people in Germany (and all around the world, in fact!) enjoy watching each year. 

World-famous musicians from well-known conservatories and orchestras, such as the Wiener Philharmoniker, perform their best repertoires for the whole country to watch on TV - a truly classy way to spend New Year's Day!

Video: YouTube / Sony Classical Deutschland

What have you got planned this New Year?

So, as you can see, New Year's Day in Germany is a relaxed, low-key affair, with plenty of time for food and family - and intention-setting for the next year! Here's hoping that this year will be better than the last. Happy New Year!



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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