European New Year’s Traditions

The New Year is upon us and as we try to stick to our resolutions, European countries have some New Year’s traditions of their own. Are you intrigued about what Poland, Germany, Czechia and Slovakia do for New Year’s Eve? Find out more below and maybe you can find a new tradition of your own!

Poland

Like many countries, modern Poland loves to celebrate with a drink in-hand, surrounded by family and friends as they welcome the new year. Yet, they also have some interesting traditions of their own. New Year’s Eve in Poland is commonly known as Sylwester or Sylwek, as it is named after the Patron Saint Sylvester’s Feast Day.

Poles in major cities can celebrate this day with formal balls, where the traditional Polonaise is often danced to mark the beginning of the festivities. Taking a kulig or sleigh ride is also a fun tradition which started when the aristocracy used to celebrate this day and used horses to bring the rich their entertainment, dances and food.

You might also meet someone in Poland with a carp fish’s scale in their wallet. This is thought to bring wealth for the new year. The scale might have even been taken from the Christmas Eve dinner or ‘Wigilia’ and is thought to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity.

Are there any Polish traditions you would like to start?

Germany

New Years in Germany often starts off with a bang! In the lead up to New Year’s Eve, fireworks are legally sold to consumers for a couple of days and they can only light them between December 31st to January 1st.

In Germany, saying “Happy New Year” is not the greeting of choice. Instead, the most usual New Year’s greeting in Germany is, “Einen Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!” or “Guten Rutsch!” which means “A good slide into the New Year!” or “Good slide!”

Another unusual tradition started years ago and has somehow stuck. But the British comedy skit, ‘Dinner for One’, first aired in 1963 and has been watched every year on New Year’s Eve in Germany ever since. It didn’t air in Britain until 2018 but is now the most frequently replayed TV program in Germany.

Will you be watching ‘Dinner for One’?

Czechia and Slovakia

These two countries have a lovely shared tradition on New Year’s Eve. The Czechoslovak national anthem is often played at midnight on TV, in honour of the shared history of both nations. On New Year’s Day expect people to be extra nice in Czechia and Slovakia, as it is a superstition that New Year’s Day sets up your luck for the rest of the year.

There’s so many fun European New Year’s traditions! We’ve only scratched the surface but hopefully one of them takes your fancy and you can use it for the next New Year’s Eve. If you would like to gain your European citizenship, contact us at citizenship@polaron.com.au All the best for 2022!