Why do Germans wish "guten Rutsch" at New Year's?
If you live in Germany, you’ve probably heard “Frohes Neues Jahr” a lot lately and had people wishing you “einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr”. But what does this really mean?
The word “Rutsch” sounds like the verb “rutschen” meaning “to slide”.
“Have a good slide into the new year?”
Why would people wish that? Cause it’s cold and slippery?
Or maybe they wish you a smooth and quick move from one year to the next. Without big trouble and too many worries? Hm, still a strange thing to wish.
In reality, “Rutsch” comes from the Hebrew word “Rosh” which means “head”. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year’s Day. The phrase “a git rosh” was used to wish each other a good start of the year. It was then borrowed by the Germans and became “einen guten Rutsch”.
So no hidden meaning or anything to do with sliding. Which by the way is not completely impossible considering the amount of alcohol people drink in the celebration of the New Year as well as the icy streets sometimes.
In order to get you started smoothly in the New Year, here is ...
My “guten-Rutsch” gift for you
Download this free learning calendar and learn important every day vocabulary throughout whole year.
Topics included are:
Bahnhof (at the train station)
Körperteile (body parts) - part 1
Wohnzimmer (living room)
Flughafen (at the airport)
Körperteile (body parts) - part 2
And as always I'm curious to hear from you: What do you wish for yourself in this New Year?
I hope you make a really happy one out of it,