Bavaria meets Great Britain
A very special Xmas Party!
By Ralph Kratzer
I come from Bavaria, the southernmost part of Germany. Born in the more than 2000 year old city of Augsburg, I grew up in a boarding school in the beautiful mountains of the German Alps and I spent most of my professional life in Munich, the Bavarian capital.
A lot of other Germans think the Bavarians are something a little weird, evil tongues say that we do not even speak proper German.
Perhaps that´s where my penchant for other “strange tribes” comes from.
In the 10 years I have now lived on the island of Cyprus, I have met a lot of Brits. Even the majority of the members of The Foreign Residents in the TRNC come from the UK.
I previously worked for many years for a computer company, whose headquarters was in Paris, but with branches throughout Europe, including England, to be precise in High Wycombe in Berkshire. I appreciated my British colleagues very much, because they were, in contrast to the French, always reliable… And on my many business trips to England, I was always received very courteously and hospitably. Of course, on business trips you do not learn very much about the country or the people. Actually, apart from one day in London for sightseeing, I knew only Heathrow Airport and our offices in High Wycombe! How sad.
In Northern Cyprus now, I have had the opportunity to get a little closer to the Brits and their mentality and I ‘ve found out that customs and traditions, habits and attitudes from the people of the UK and Germany are often very similar.
We both love punctuality and reliability. On the other side we like to party and laugh a lot. We have a special kind of humour. We like football. We look back on a long tradition in our countries. We don´t like the EURO currency (our German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, of course has to have a different opinion… what else can she do?). We have some similarities in our languages and the connections of the British Royal Family to the German High Nobility is historically well known.
But in one point we differ in principle: In the manner of celebrating Christmas!
For most Bavarians (and I think it´s the same for the rest of Germany), Christmas is a quiet, contemplative affair. We celebrate with the family or with very close friends and we are already celebrating on Christmas Eve, when the gifts are lying under the decorated tree. Christmas Day then and Second Christmas Day (we don´t know it as Boxing Day) is often used to visit other family members or just to have a rest and when we sing, then it is just Christmas carols. To get an idea about Christmas in Bavaria – click here!
The British people, in contrast, at least the ones I ‘ve met, have a party!
This year I had the opportunity to witness this live because I was invited by an English member of the TFR, Barbara, to her house for a festive meal on Christmas Day along with British friends and familiy members of her.
But the celebration already started on Christmas Eve afternoon, because we met in the O’live Bar in Alsancak. There were homemade dainties served which the guests had brought along and we were drinking, talking, laughing and celebrating.
On Christmas Day we met again about noontime in the next bar! British people seem to like meeting in bars to wish friends and acquaintances a Merry Christmas, before then going home to have the proper celebration.
The food was served and was perfect to the taste and more than plentiful! There is a persistent rumour in Germany that the British cannot cook! Shame, how they can!
However, after the delicious meal, the party really started.
There had been several parlour games, some of them interesting, some funny, some just crazy but all of us had great fun! Of course there were songs as well and I was not always sure if all the songs were contemplative Christmas carols…
All in all I personally liked this kind of Christmas celebration with my British friends more than the ones I knew from Bavaria. But this is as we know a matter of taste!
In conclusion, my thanks to the hostess Barbara and all those who helped her in organizing and preparing this unforgettable party.