Silvester

Silvester is the last day of the year, 31st December, known in English as New Year’s Eve.

Many people hold or visit parties on this evening, others spend the evening with their families at home.

Popular things to eat on this evening are raclette and fondue. At midnight everyone goes out onto the streets and lets of fireworks to celebrate the New Year.

A long running television programme is the Silvesterstadl shown on the public broadcast ARD, which runs for about 4 hours and contains traditional folk music as well as sketches and interviews, many of which are connected with Silvester traditions.

The most well-known television programme on this day must, however, surely be Dinner for Onea 20-minute sketch with Freddie Frinten and May Warden which is shown every year on several channels which over the years has become a traditional part of Silvester viewing for a large part of the German population.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Same procedure as last year?

Millions of Germans will tune in to a little-known English-language sketch called “Dinner For One” this New Year’s Eve.

Filmed in 1963 with British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden, it has become a traditional part of the evening and is shown in several versions (colour, original, etc.) on different television stations. As such, it used to have an entry in the Guiness Book of Records for the most frequently repeated TV programme.

The sketch is simple: Miss Sophie is celebrating her 90th Birthday. Unfornately, the companions of her own generation are long since deceased, so it is up to her butler, James, to take on their roles. As the meal progresses, James becomes more and more drunk and outrageous, whilst Miss Sophie calmly orders the next course with the appropriate drinks.

However, even though the sketch is performed in English, almost no-one in England these days has ever heard of it.

Want to see what you’re missing? Watch the clip at the NDR homepage.

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