New Year’s Day in German-speaking lands (and others) is the day to celebrate Saint Sylvester.
Now that the Claremont Colleges have started spring semester, the language residents are back and Martin, the German language resident hosted a Sylvester Party in Oldenburg, the language dorm at Pomona College.
First we made pretzels
and then we told fortunes. First one takes this small piece of lead, shaped as something or other, melts it over a flame (we discovered it worked much better over a stove burner), and then pour the melted mess into a bowl of cold water. After determining what shape it made, one looks up the meaning of the shape, thus telling your fortune for the year.
The back of the package gives some suggestions, but, apparently, one can find an entire list of shapes online, complete with fortunes. Our hardest part was figuring out what each one looked like.