4 Ways to Say Happy New Year in German + New Year’s Greetings and Traditions

As the year draws to a close and we look forward to the excitement of 2024, it’s always nice to learn how to extend our well-wishes across different cultures and languages. If you have German friends or you’re in a German-speaking area during the festive season, knowing how to say Happy New Year in German can be quite handy! (And Merry Christmas in German, too!)

First, explore the different ways of these good wishes and read more about some beautiful traditions that light up the New Year in German-speaking countries. Meanwhile, you can immediately watch this great video where Denisa from Spring German shares 5 tips to finally learn German!

1. How to say Happy New Year in German (Frohes Neues Jahr)

Effortless Answers

The most common way to say Happy New Year in German is “Frohes Neues Jahr” or shorter: “Frohes Neues.

As the clock strikes midnight on 31st December, you’ll hear people cheerfully proclaiming, “Frohes Neues Jahr!” (Happy New Year), toasting with champagne and wishing each other the very best for the coming year.

In professional or more formal settings, you might also come across the phrase: “Ich wünsche Ihnen ein frohes neues Jahr” which means “I wish you a happy new year.”

This expression is polite and is more often used in written greetings.

2. 3 Alternatives for Happy New Year Wishes in German

While “Frohes Neues Jahr” is the go-to greeting, there are some variations that you might like to use.

Let’s take a look!

Guten Rutsch! (Literally: Good slide!)

The phrase literally translates to “good slide”.

Guten Rutsch!” is a casual and cheerful way to wish someone a good transition into the new year.

It’s akin to saying, “Have a good start to the new year!”

You might text a friend on New Year’s Eve:

  • Wir sehen uns nächstes Jahr. Bis dahin, guten Rutsch!” (See you next year. Until then, have a good start to the new year!)

Ein glückliches neues Jahr! (Literally: A happy new year!)

Ein glückliches neues Jahr!” is a heartfelt way of wishing someone a happy new year in German.

It emphasizes the wish for happiness in the upcoming year.

You might use this phrase more with close friends and family, where the sentiment behind the phrase is as important as the greeting itself:

  • Möge das kommende Jahr dir Glück und Freude bringen. Ein glückliches neues Jahr!” (May the coming year bring you happiness and joy. A happy new year!)

Prosit Neujahr! (Literally: Cheers to the New Year!)

This is a bit more traditional and also includes a toast!

Prosit” is Latin for “may it be good,” and “Neujahr” is the German word for “New Year.”

So when glasses clink at the stroke of midnight, saying:

  • Prosit Neujahr!” (Cheers to the New Year!)

is a festive way to celebrate the moment.

All of these phrases are common chunks in German which you’ll hear in everyday conversations. With Conversation Based Chunking, you’ll learn the language faster because you immerse yourself in real-life situations. Sign up now to learn more about this effective method that helped thousands of students learn a foreign language.

New Year’s traditions differ from country to country.

In Japan, people ring a bell 108 times in alignment with the Buddhist belief that this brings cleansing from the 108 worldly desires.

In Denmark, people throw old plates and glasses against the doors of friends and family to ward off bad spirits.

But, what about German-speaking countries?

happy new year in german city Saxony with fireworks

Well, New Year’s Eve in German-speaking countries and especially in Germany, is also referred to as “Silvester,” named after Pope Sylvester I who died in Rome on the last day of the year 335. (A history lesson about Sain Sylvester here.)

Dinner for One: A Quirky New Year’s Tradition in Germany

“Dinner for One”, a British sketch known as “The 90th Birthday”, has become a beloved New Year’s Eve tradition in Germany.

The 1963 black-and-white play tells the humorous tale of Miss Sophie’s 90th birthday dinner.

Her butler, James, role-plays each of her deceased friends, resulting in hilariously escalating levels of intoxication.

Despite being in English, the play has become integral to the German New Year’s Eve celebration. Its catchphrase “The same procedure as every year, James” (“Die selbe Prozedur wie jedes Jahr James!“) has entered the German lexicon.

Listening to the Chancellor’s speech on New Year’s Eve

Another quintessential tradition in Germany on New Year’s Eve is listening to the Chancellor’s speech.

As the clock ticks towards midnight, Germans across the nation tune in to hear the Chancellor reflect on the past year and share visions for the upcoming one

This tradition offers a moment of unity and contemplation amidst the excitement of the festivities, reinforcing the community spirit as people step into the New Year together.

Fun New Year’s Greetings in different German speaking regions

As the clock strikes twelve and a new year begins, it is a long-standing tradition in German-speaking regions to greet each other in a fun and unique manner.

Check out these expressions that are distinctive to their respective regions.

These greetings are all different, but despite their diversity, they all share a common theme – wishing good luck, prosperity, and happiness for the year ahead!

Happy New Year in Germany

GermanEnglish
Frohes Neues Jahr!
Happy New Year!
Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!
Have a good start to the New Year!
Ein glückliches Neues Jahr!
A happy New Year!
Prosit Neujahr!
Cheers to the New Year!

Happy New Year in Austria

GermanEnglish
Prosit Neujahr!
Cheers to the New Year!
Alles Gute im Neuen Jahr!
All the best in the New Year!
Viel Glück und Erfolg im Neuen Jahr!
Good luck and success in the New Year!

Happy New Year in Switzerland

Swiss GermanEnglish
E guete Rutsch ins Neujahr!
A good slide into the New Year!
Glückliches Neues Jahr!
Happy New Year!
En guete Start ins Neujohr!
A good start into the New Year!

4. Celebrate New Year in German Cities in German-speaking countries

If you are lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s in a German-speaking country, these are some of the most iconic places to experience it!

Berlin: Concerts at the Brandenburg Gate

The German capital is famous for its “Silvester” celebrations, with millions of people gathering around the Brandenburg Gate for concerts, fireworks, and the countdown.

happy new year in german capital berlin, brandenburg gate

Vienna: Waltzing in front of the cathedral

In Austria’s capital, the celebration is elegant, with grand balls, classical music concerts, and waltzing in front of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

happy new year in german speaking vienna, st. stephen cathedral

Zürich: Fireworks over Lake Zürich

You can enjoy a magical setting by the lake with fireworks in Zürich, Switzerland!

During New Year’s Eve, it seems like everyone in Zürich is out and about, particularly in the city center.

People gather to listen to the annual ringing of the Grossmünster bells and then admire the breathtaking fireworks show over Lake Zürich.

happy new year in german speaking Zurich downtown at night

5. Celebrate the New Year with New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are also a big part of the “Silvester” tradition.

Vorsätze für das neue Jahr” (resolutions for the new year) often include goals like “Ich will Deutsch lernen” (I want to learn German) or “Ich will gesünder leben” (I want to live healthier).

GermanEnglish
Mehr Sport treiben.
Exercise more.
Gesünder essen.
Eat healthier.
Weniger Stress haben.
Have less stress.
Ein neues Hobby beginnen.
Start a new hobby.
Mehr Zeit mit der Familie verbringen.
Spend more time with family.
Ein Instrument lernen.
Learn an instrument.
Einen neuen Job finden.
Find a new job.
Mehr Bücher lesen.
Read more books.
Einen Sprachkurs machen.
Take a language course.
Das Rauchen aufgeben.
Quit smoking.

You can learn these common German phrases for New Year’s resolutions and use them as chunks in real-life conversations. What are chunks? Read on to learn more!

6. Language Learning tips to learn more German words and chunks with Conversation Based Chunking

For those interested in expanding their language skills beyond New Year wishes, the method of Conversation Based Chunking can be very helpful.

With this approach, you learn phrases and typical expressions by heart, which makes conversation more natural. For example, learning a simple greeting like “Wie geht’s?” (How are you?) can open the door to more interactions and help immerse you in the language and culture.

To learn more about the German language, try conversation based chunking, which helps you master greetings and everyday phrases, paving the way for better communication.

Whether you’re in Germany or elsewhere, sharing heartfelt wishes transcends cultures and languages, bringing us all a little closer together.

Prost Neujahr to your adventures in language and culture this coming year! 😉

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