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A different country, different traditions

As the year comes to an end, we all start to think about how we want to celebrate it. When we arrived in the UK in 2004, we weren’t very familiar with its traditions and how people liked to celebrate. Even Halloween took us by surprise as it wasn’t very popular in Germany at the time. Luckily, we had lovely neighbours who didn’t play a trick on us for not being prepared. Just as well as we had literally set foot in the country on 31st October!



Our first New Year’s Eve was no different. I thought that the British would do as we do in Germany. Most Germans get together with friends or family, often at home with a traditional Swiss raclette. If you don’t already know what it is, a raclette is a special kind of grill that is placed at the centre of the table where you would cook your own meat on top and cook prepared vegetables or seafood in the little pans underneath. To make it super calorific and super delicious, you add Swiss raclette cheese (or cheddar if you don’t have any) to the vegetables. After the feast is over, the champagne is poured and we would venture outside to enjoy some fireworks and wish all the neighbours a happy new year. So, you can imagine how stupid we felt when we stood out in the street with our champagne glasses on that first New Year’s Eve in the UK – without a neighbour in sight! For the second time in so many months, our lovely neighbours took pity on us and invited us into their home to celebrate together. We still laugh about it now –  and we did make some very good friends on that first New Year’s Eve!



What is Dinner for one?

In Germany, there’s another funny tradition that most people like to keep up with on New Year’s Eve. It’s called ‘Dinner for One’, sometimes known as ‘The 90th Birthday’. Every New Year’s Eve, Germans traditionally watch this comedy sketch written by the British writer, Lauri Wylie, which has become the most repeated TV programme in Germany. Many Germans find it hilarious to watch the butler as he gets more and more drunk and finally ends up falling flat on his face on the lion-headed rug! However, I did end up getting bored of it by the time I reached my twenties and I haven’t really watched it since. I do find it quite funny that most Germans think that ‘Dinner for One’ is also popular in Britain but most of the British I know have never heard of it!


Have you ever heard of it? It would be lovely to read your stories of how you came across this strange tradition? I look forward to reading your comments.

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