German Video of the Week: “Dinner for One”

New Years Eve is upon us, which means that Berlin is all “bangs” and “booms” from fireworks, making it sound a little too much like a war zone for a city that was a war zone not all that long ago. It will go on until sometime tomorrow, when everyone finally passes out after partying like it’s 2015, and I will then wake up and clean errant fireworks off of my balcony. Nearly a decade ago, Berlin on New Years Eve was one of the most fascinating things I’d ever seen. It’s one of the most popular NYE destinations in Europe; people pour in from everywhere, filling up the area around Brandenburg Gate and crowding just about every club in the city. A lot of locals go to the Oberbaumbrucke, which is total chaos around midnight. Think fireworks everywhere, with no rules, rhyme, or reason. New Year’s Eve 2006 was probably the wildest party I’d ever seen at that point in my life and I swore to myself that I would always do something special and glamorous on New Year’s Eve. This isn’t a post about breaking that promise; I’ve been consistently going to house parties for years now, because outside is cold and I don’t fancy paying 15+ Euros entry into an overcrowded club. I really am taking the cake this year though, because I’m staying home. And by “staying home”, I don’t mean inviting a few friends over to play board games, I mean making dinner and watching movies with my boyfriend. After a busy (wonderful, but busy) Christmas season and the workload leading up to it, I am really looking forward to it.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be a “German Video of the Week” post, so I’ll get to it. In Germany, New Year’s Eve (“Silvester”, if we want to use the correct term) mostly involves drinking a lot of sparkling wine (“Sekt”) and taking full advantage of legal fireworks, blowing up the stereotype that they are orderly people (see what I did there?) They also melt bits of lead and drop them into water to tell their fortune for the next year (the shape the lead cools into is supposed to tell your future). But one of the most enduring traditions is also one of the strangest to me, and that’s watching “Dinner for One.”

“Dinner for One” was originally aired on NDR in 1963. It’s a televised version of a British theatre sketch from the 1920s, and it was inexplicably produced in English in a country that dubs everything. It originally aired on July 8 and the plot has absolutely nothing to do with Silvester. It is pretty funny though in a slapstick kind of way, but I still don’t really understand exactly why it endures as a NYE favourite. It didn’t even have anything to do with the holiday until it aired on New Year’s Eve in 1972, but somehow, it became a Silvester tradition. I won’t give you a plot summary, so you’ll just have to watch the video to see what I mean. So, sticking to “the same procedure as every year”, kick back with a glass of Sekt and partake in a German tradition!


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