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Hallicher Nei Yaahr (Happy New Year) and the New Year’s Wish: A Pennsylvania German Tradition


Around the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, groups of Wishers began traveling door to door in rural Pennsylvania to offer a New Year’s wish. Whenever the offer was accepted, the Wisher chanted a blessing for the upcoming year that covered occupants of both the home and the barn and the crops in the field. Once finished, the Wisher’s companions fired rifles in the air to banish evil spirits. The group was then invited inside for refreshments before proceeding to the next home, and the next—often journeying well into New Year’s Day.


Today, the wish is typically shared only in public venues, although house calls are sometimes made upon request.


In addition to the New Year’s Wish (which is chanted in German and written in English on the inside CD cover), this CD contains a few German songs and several bluegrass melodies, sung in English. The inside cover also contains a more detailed description of the tradition of the New Year’s Wish.


Artwork: Peter V. Fritsch

Singers/Musicians: Peter V. Fritsch, Luke Hertzog, Mike Hertzog

Song Titles: Down Yonder, Blue Ridge Cabin Home, Alle Deitsche Brieder, Redwing, Jingle Bells, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Home Sweet Home, Old Country Church, Grandfathers Clock, Sunndaahgs in die Karich, Chinamans Breakdown, Will the Circle be Unbroken, Ash Grove, Simple Gifts, Foggy Mountain Top, Der Kaschebaam, Keep on the Sunnyside, Ragtime Annie, Golden Slippers, Over in the Gloryland, Auld Lange Syne.

Hallicher Nei Yaahr and the New Year’s Wish: A Pennsylvania German CD

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