Thursday, February 07, 2008

Was für ein Krach!

At 3 p.m. Berlin Standard Time, children began breaking glass bottles on the square in front of my apartment building. (Same hooligans who threw eggs at my windows, I supposed.) At least, that's what it sounded like till I had the nerve to get up and look out the window.

Instead, I found a large party of fancily-dressed Germans smashing plates, cups and even a really nice-looking mixing bowl. Kids and adults, they heartily flung and smashed dishes for a good half an hour. Now (I did mention they're Germans, right?) they're busily sweeping up the shards and tossing them in a dumpster. Each tinkling and crashing sound pierces my double windows, far louder than the highway traffic nearby.

Across the street from my place is a little bar/restaurant with lamps in the windows that blind us nightly which specializes in wedding receptions. And this is one of those traditions (unlike Groundhog Day) which seems not to have crossed the ocean: reception guests smash dishware in honor of the couple, in the belief that the more shards produced, the more successful the wedding will be. The only similar tradition I can think of on our side of the pond is the Jewish custom of stepping on a glass after the wedding pair has said their vows.

Just remember this the next time German newlyweds remind you to bring a dish to the reception -- they mean one you're willing to smash, not to share at the table!

And on this note, many happy returns of the day to my friends Jan and Ana, who were married in Berlin this week. I've got a bowl with your name on it, my friends :)


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