German Lessons


Celebrating in German

New Year's Eve is just around the corner! We at Yabla wish you einen guten Rutsch and hope to contribute to your festivities with some relevant vocabulary.


Eine kurze Frage: Wie feiern Sie Weihnachten? -Mit der Familie.

A quick question: How do you celebrate Christmas? -With the family.

Caption 10, Weihnachtsinterviews - Diane in Karlsruhe

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Wir werden wahrscheinlich mit ein paar Freunden feiern.

We will probably celebrate with a few friends.

Caption 5, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Karlsruhe

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The noun die Feier is used for a party or celebration, although it's normal to hear die Party as well. You may remember from our recent newsletter that the preposition auf is used: Wir gehen auf eine Party for "We're going to a party," and Wir sind auf einer Party for "We're at a party."


Hauptsache sie haben Spaß. -Hauptsache: Party und schöne Stimmung!

The main thing is that they have fun. -The main thing: party and good vibes!

Caption 63, Fastnacht - Karneval - Karnevalisten

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Und natürlich drückt das auf die Partystimmung.

And, of course, that puts a damper on the party atmosphere.

Caption 60, Heute-Show - 30 Jahre Mauerfall: So feiern die Deutschen ihre Einheit

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Fun fact: die Stimmung can refer to instruments being in tune, but also means "mood" or "atmosphere." 

And finally, a slang usage related to celebration is Lass es krachen!, which literally means "Make noise!" 


Also, dann wünsch ich dir viel Spaß.

So, then I hope you have a lot of fun.

-Danke schön. -Und lass es krachen!

-Thank you. -And make some noise!

Caption 17, Fasching - mit Cettina

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Further Learning
For more about New Year's Eve in Germany, you can do a quick search for our related videos on Yabla German. You can also review our previous newsletters on the topic: Learn about the origins of the word Silvester and make a few New Year's resolutions in German!

New Year's Resolutions

The custom of making a New Year's resolution, where we promise to try to make improvements in the coming year, is common in many western European countries. A recent newspaper report states that the most popular New Year's resolution for Germans this year is to try to pay more attention to their personal finances, with the specific goal of saving more money.


The German word for "resolution" in the context of a New Year's resolution is der Vorsatz, as in der Vorsatz für das neue Jahr, or less commonly, der Neujahrsvorsatz


Haben Sie irgendwelche Vorsätze für nächstes Jahr?

Do you have any resolutions for next year?

Caption 8, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Linkenheim

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Haben Sie Vorsätze?

Do you have resolutions?

-Ja, es wird alles besser!

-Yes, everything will get better!

Captions 30-31, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Linkenheim

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Haben Sie sich schon gute Vorsätze fürs neue Jahr vorgenommen?

Have you already made good resolutions for the new year?

Caption 8, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Karlsruhe

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Machen Sie sich Vorsätze fürs neue Jahr?

Do you make resolutions for the new year?

Nein. -Nein, warum nicht? -Weil mer [wir] sie sowieso nicht einhalten.

No. -No, why not? -Because we don't keep them anyway.

Captions 40-41, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Karlsruhe

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We hope you can be a bit more optimistic about your New Year's resolutions than this last fellow, perhaps it helps if the resolutions are realistic!


Further Learning
Watch both of the Yabla German videos about New Year's resolutions in Linkenheim and in Karlsruhe in their entirety and write some New Year’s resolutions for yourself in German.

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Am Silvesterabend

We have already devoted a Yabla German lesson to the celebration of New Year's Eve in Germany with an explanation of the phrase Guten Rutsch ("a good slide into the new year"), but let's take a detailed look at the German word for New Year's Eve: der Silvester (or das Silvester, either way is correct).


The term Silvester originates from the Christian feast which takes place on the anniversary of the death of Pope Silvester I on December 31st, and is also used (with language-specific variant spellings) to denote New Year's Eve in many countries, including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Slovenia.


Was machen wir eigentlich an Silvester?

What are we actually doing on New Year's Eve?

Caption 2, Im Zoo - Der Jahreswechsel für die Tiere

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Wie verbringen Sie Silvester? -Ganz gemütlich zu Hause.

How will you spend New Year's Eve? -Very comfortably at home.

Caption 7, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Linkenheim

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Wer an Silvester nicht alleine Raketen kucken will...

Those who do not want to watch fireworks by themselves on New Year's Eve...

Caption 42, Leidenszeit für Singles - Online-Dating-Hochsaison

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Wie feiert ihr den Silvesterabend?

How do you celebrate New Year's Eve?

Also, ich feier mit meiner Mama und meinem Papa zu Hause.

Well, I celebrate with my mom and my dad at home.

Captions 17-18, Silvester - Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Karlsruhe

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As you see in the last example, Silvester can be combined with Abend (evening) to form the compound noun der Silvesterabend.


Further Learning
So regardless of whether you celebrate Silvester at home with family or out with friends, we at Yabla wish you all a happy and safe guten Rutsch into the New Year!

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