10 January 2009

Celebrating the New Year in Germany

Classes resumed here at the KUE last Wednesday and the final month of the semester is underway. The next three posts will look at what I’ve done over the Christmas break.

On December 17 I boarded a plane and flew home to America for a surprise visit with my family and friends. There I remained until December 30. I returned to Germany in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends in Eichstätt.

I arrived in Munich on December 31 at eight in the morning, and back in Eichstätt around noon. Try as I did to stay awake straight through until midnight, a brief rest on my bed turned into a several hour nap. Close to eight o’clock the ringing of my cell phone brought me to my feet. Hannah was calling to tell me to go ahead and come over to St. Mike’s for dinner. At the meal, and for the rest of the night, were several people, mostly friends or family of Hannah’s visiting from America but also many residents on the first floor of St. Mike’s.

We left the dorm and walked into the city center to watch the firework show. Oddly enough, the official show organized by Eichstätt began at eleven o’clock and ended a half hour before the start of the new year. Much of the town seemed to be gathered on the Residenzplatz in order to view the colorful explosions. Here are some photographs and a video clip taken of the fireworks.

After the official show ended, the scene started to remind me of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Hamburg from two years ago. The German tradition for celebrating New Year’s Eve seems to be wandering the streets of their towns and cities and randomly shooting off fireworks. Groups of teenagers can be seen carrying backpacks filled with rockets and roman candles. The closer twelve o’clock came, the more fireworks burst in the night sky. Below are some images taken at the stroke of midnight or a little afterwards.

Because of my transatlantic flight, afternoon nap, and going to bed that night at a late hour, I woke up on January 1 at six in the evening. I didn’t see any daylight for 38 hours as a result. The next day, January 2, I unintentionally woke up at five in the morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I did eventually return to a normal sleep schedule.

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