Catholic Activity: New Year's Visit
The Russian Germans of Kansas still retain their tradition of visiting family, particularly godparents, on New Year's morning.
The week between Christmas and New Year's Day carried a holiday air and New Years morning found the children of each village going to visit their relatives and friends, the first visit usually being made to godparents. The customary greeting is still, "Ich wuensche Euch ein glueckseliges Neujahr, langes Leben, Gesundheit, Friede and Einigkeit, nach dem Tode die ewige Glueckseligkeit" (I wish you a happy New Year, long life, health, peace and harmony, after death eternal happiness). The children are rewarded for their good wishes; formerly, candy and cookies were the customary treat, now, money is frequently given.
Previously, the young men celebrated the New Year by shooting, Neujahr anschiesen (shooting in the New Year), before the houses of their friends and relatives after which they gave the above greeting. They were given refreshments and the girls pinned ribbons to their coats. A young man's popularity could be judged by the number of ribbons he had on his coat. In some of the colonies, in Catherine for one, a band composed of brass instruments used to march through the village streets stopping first at the home of the priest and then at the homes of each family to greet them with music. Today the Wuenscher (well-wishers) are not confined to the children and young men. The men and women frequently visit neighboring families, wish them a happy New Year, and partake of refreshments. The "well-wishing" is kept up by the children until the sixth of January.
Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994