Happy New Year from Germany! Wow, it is 2019!
Here in Germany, New Year’s Eve is called Silvester. I love seeing holiday traditions and I knew something had to be up with a pig in Germany because I was seeing pigs all over the stores mixed in with the remaining Christmas decorations and candies.
Here are some photos I took at Globus (what is similar to a Walmart back in the states):
It turns out that these pigs are called Glücksbringer or Glücksschwein – meaning they bring good luck! In German “Schwein gehabt” translates to an expression “Having a pig” which is more like saying in English “Got Lucky There!”
In Germany, marzipan pigs are given out as gifts and you eat them on New Year’s Day to get good luck for the year!
Pigs in Germany are historically associated with good luck. When farmers had an abundance of pigs, they were considered prosperous.
In nearby Denmark and Norway, a tradition is to eat rice porridge on Christmas Eve. The chef hides a single almond in the rice porridge and the person that gets the serving with the almond gets the prize – a marzipan pig!
Some other symbols of luck you see here in Germany are horseshoes (I saw these often with my Scottish brides when I was a wedding photographer in Orlando), ladybugs, four leaf clovers and chimney sweeps.
If you do get your luck from a horseshoe, be sure and point the open end towards the sky so your luck doesn’t “run out.” And if you are looking for luck from a four leaf clover, apparently you have to find it in the wild. You don’t get the luck from buying a plant at the Blumen. Ladybugs are lucky in Germany because they have seven black spots on their backs. In Germany and Austria, the number 7 is considered lucky. If you have a cat in Germany or Austria, it has 7 lucky lives. And you are on Cloud Seven, not Cloud Nine. Chimney sweeps are considered lucky – probably because if your chimney is clean, the likelihood of your house burning down is slim. At Christmas markets in Germany and Austria that stay open after Christmas you might see vendors selling these pigs, chimney sweeps, four leaf clovers or lady bugs!