New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, so my mind has turned to preparing for all the strange rituals that this involves in Germany. I’ve checked the times for Dinner for One, I’ve selected my fireworks, organised the menu…. and now I’m sorting out the Bleigießen.
Bleigießen, for those who have not had the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve in Germany, is a form of teutonic fortune telling. The equipment you need is a small set comprising a metal spoon and some lumps of lead. You will also need a lit candle and a glass of water.
The idea is to melt the lead over the candle in the spoon, then pour the molten metal into the glass of water. The lead sets immediately into some shape… and from your analysis of the shape, you can predict your fortune for the coming year.
So far, so simple. On the back of the pack there are even instructions for the fortune reading. According to the blurb, your lead lump will come out looking like a goat or a ring or a sword, or something which is then attached to some predicted fortune such as “unexpected wealth” or “secret admirers”.
The problem is, first that my lump of lead never looks like any of the shapes described on the packaging, and second that if I do suspend disbelief and stretch my imagination as far as it will go, I end up with something that either predicts my own death or foresees a year of disease, ruin and misery.
So this year, I have decided to throw away the packaging and write my own “fortunes”. This, I guarantee, will have far better results. Firstly, because the lump of lead is definitely going to look like one of my predicted shapes (I’m writing from long experience here), second because my predicted fortunes are far more likely to happen than “unexpected wealth” or “secret admirers”, and third because I’m only going to tell the fortunes of my German neighbours. The ones who for years have been foretelling doom for me.
So here’s my patented Bleigießen interpretation kit:
Used chewing gum: You will spend most of 2010 in the emergency room, bleeding profusely from wounds inflicted by savage animals
Roadkill: Impoverished investment bankers will take over your house and turn it into a squat frequented by illegal gambling syndicates
Traffic accident: You will suffer an unusual medical condition which results in massive overproduction of earwax
Rorschach test: Your German residency papers will be mixed up with those of an illegal Mongolian drug smuggler and you will be accidentally deported to Ulan Bator
Silly putty: A meteor will fall on your house, destroying it completely. Fortunately you are out at the time. Unfortunately you will have to spend the rest of the year sharing a one-bedroom apartment with your in laws
Lump of cheese: Giant rodents will invade your home and infest your family with bubonic plague
Have a great time at Silvester everyone!