Thursday, December 10, 2009

die Nikolaus Party

There is another tradition in Göttingen that goes along with the holiday of Nikolaus, but is a little more than a night hoping to find chocolates in the morning. In fact, it actually involves a night of completely no sleep.

During my first days in Göttingen almost 2 months ago I started hearing about the 'Nikolaus Party'. Apparently it is a huge tradition in the Universitätsstadt Göttingen and is known throughout Germany as being the largest Nikolaus party in the nation.

Throughout the entire month of November I saw posters around advertising the ticket sales and the live music that would be played at the event. From the great excitment that I heard about the party I knew that it was something that I couldn't miss out on, so I had my ticket ready, and just hours back from Bonn completely exhausted, was ready for the final event of the week - the Nikolaus Party.

Now asside from being such a big party in the city of Göttingen that is apparently well known around Germany, there were a few other things that I noticed about the party that were extremely interesting to me from the perspective as an American student as well.

First of all the party was held in one of the Universities buildings - The ZHG building. Not only was I surprised that the building was used for the party, but also for the fact that the building normally used for classes and lectures was turned into an all out club filled with stages, bars, more bars - I guess in another perspective I don't think I would ever see booths for beer and tequilla shots in Angell Hall at UofM...

Also astounding was the fact that the attendance at the party is said to reach over 10,000! The party doesn't just go on with live musical guests and christmas themed decorations everywhere - there is actually a tradition of viewing [and even dressing up as characters from] the German cult-classic Feuerzangenbowle - a comedy about a Christmas gathering titled after the festive drink common at typical weihnachts gatherings.

The night was a lot of fun - filled with a bit of pushing and shoving to the coat check albeit - but I am very glad that I was able to witness such a huge event. I was completely exhausted at this point from minimal hours of sleep in Bonn, to heading to bed past 6 am on Sunday morning after hours of dancing at the Nikolaus Party but it definitely turned out to be an event that showcased another unique attribute of studying as a college student in Europe, especially at Georg August Universität Göttingen.

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