German Language Blog

Bleigiessen Posted by on Dec 30, 2008 in Traditions


Silvesterabend is right around the corner und da sind einige New Year’s Eve customs I’d like to share with you. In this post I’ll talk about a fortune telling custom.

Es gibt viele Angelegenheiten to welcome a new year. Manche Leute use this opportunity to make new resolutions. Sie wissen schon — new year, neuer Anfang. Others like to use an ancient and more subjective custom — they have a need to know what’s in store for them. They want to be prepared for what lies ahead.


Zum Beispiel, one method people use to predict the future is called: Bleigiessen (the pouring of molten lead) — Now here’s something I haven’t done in a long time! Pouring lead to predict the future is a ritual that can be traced as far back as the Greeks.

Bleigiessen ist eigentlich sehr einfach. To do this, you will need a small amount of lead (you can also buy a kit, but I’m not sure if you can buy it in the States), a bowl of water and a candle. Here’s what you do: you put a piece of Blei unto ein Löffel and hold it over die Flame einer Kerze. Once the lead has melted, pour it into das Wasser; the water will shape it into a specific form. You then pull out the shaped form and hold it up against the candlelight, so that you can see its shadow against the wall. The form of that shadow will tell you what to expect in the future. Selbstverständlich, it is left to one’s interpretation. This is just for Spaß; so don’t take it too seriously!

There are many forms that can be created once the Blei hits the water. Here are some Beispiele:

  • Herz – sich verlieben (falling in love)
  • Hut – gute Nachrichten (good news coming your way)
  • Kreuz, Kreuze – Tod (death — yikes!)
  • Kuchen – ein Fest steht bevor (an opportunity for celebration)
  • Kuh – Heilung (healing)


Bis bald,


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