Germans like to give each other little marzipan versions of the red toadstool at the start of a new year. But how did the poisonous Fly Agaric become a symbol of good fortune? The origin of this custom may go back to the Germanic god Odin (Wuotan), who was not only the god of War, but also of Ecstasy, Poetry and Magic. According to legend, Odin rode across the sky on the night of the winter solstice, and wherever the saliva of his horse fell on the earth, red toadstools would grow nine months later. It is quite possible the ancient Germans ingested Fly Agarics for their hallucinogenic properties. Though the marzipan version provides a safer kind of bliss.
Today, people also call a lucky person a "Glückspilz", a "good luck mushroom" or "lucky mushroom". This expression may actually come from class-conscious 18th century England, where social upstarts were called "mushrooms". Needless to say, this was not meant kindly. "Du bist ein Glückspilz!" however just means: "You're a lucky devil!" May we all be that in the New Year.
"Ich bin wieder bei mir". The first meaning is simply: I'm at my place again. As a figure of speech it also means "I'm myself again." After all, we only feel truly at home in ourselves when we have peace of mind.
"Bei mir" is a useful turn of phrase. Where's the party? "Bei mir." At my place. Or, as the French say: "Chez moi."
Die Umarmung=the embrace. Umarmen=to embrace. Ich umarme dich= I hug you.
However, when it comes to embracing adversity, German uses verbs like "annehmen" or "akzeptieren", both closer in meaning to 'acceptance' than to 'hugging'.
"Ich bin ganz aus dem Häuschen" = "I'm completely outside the little house." Why a "little house"? The expression may date back to the 18th century French expression for the houses for the mentally ill, "petites maisons", "little houses." If you came from "les petites maisons", you were deemed crazy. Incidentally, the German word for "crazy" is "verrückt", which literally means "moved out of its proper place." Today the expression is used mostly in a positive sense, as in "to be beside oneself with joy."
Literally: what is too much, is too much.
Zu viele Gedanken=too many thoughts
Zu viele Sorgen=too many worries
Zu viele Geschenke=too many gifts
Das Geschenk=the gift. German has its own verb for the giving of gifts: schenken. German speakers learning English are often baffled by the English word "gift", since in German "das Gift" means "the poison."
All in all, you don't always get what you want, or even what you expect.
Wintersonnenwende. Literally: The turning of the winter sun . In Old High German, the longest night of the year was called "Modranecht", "Mothernight," because it marked the return of the light. Ich wünsche Euch Licht und Glück im Neuen Jahr! I wish you light and good fortune in the New Year!
das Licht=the light
das Glück=good luck, good fortune, happiness
die Mutter=the mother
die Nacht=the night
der Wolf=the wolf
Resistance is often important and necessary, but when it comes to our own brooding, quite futile. The German word "nicht" literally means "not", and typically follows the verb. As in: "Ich bin nicht zufrieden." Do you remember what "zufrieden" means?
Like the English "to brood", "brüten" has two meanings: to incubate (to hatch the brood), and to ponder, to think heavy thoughts. And isn't that what we do on a daily basis? We brood over things, thinking we can make them go away, But all that brooding only makes them hatch.