With 2012 just around the corner, I began thinking about how my friends from around the globe were going to celebrate this wonderful event. Below you will find some traditional and not so traditional customs…
USA : It is a tradition to gather at Times Square in New York City on New Year’s eve and celebrate through the night until the clock announces onset of the new year. The entire program is telecasted live for the rest of the Americans and the world to watch from home. As the clock strikes past midnight, the entire Times Square breaks into euphoric cheers, honking cars and people sharing kisses to wade off the old and the evil. Among other popular new year traditions, people like to watch football games, crowd streets and have special food called Hoppin’ John with black-eyed beans, along with cakes and champagne for luck and prosperity.
UK : Welcoming the new year in UK is supposed to be noisy – full of loud cheers and whistles of family and friends, followed by kissing and drinking .
One of the most popular of UK new year traditions still prevalent is called “First Footing”. According to the custom, a family is blessed with good luck and prosperity if a tall, dark and good-looking male is the first person to enter through the front door after the new year arrives. Carrying a piece of coal, a loaf and a bottle of Whiskey, the visitor should neither speak to anyone nor be spoken to until he places the coal on fire, puts the loaf on table, serves the drink to the family head and finally wishes everyone a “Happy New Year”. He should leave the house through the back door to complete the tradition with flying colors. I
Colombia: People gather with family and friends and at the stroke of midnight, they eat 12 grapes and for each grape, ask for a wish in return. Champagne is used for toasts and tamales are a stable for dinner. There is a lot of dancing involved and singing. If you want to travel that year, you need to grab a suitcase and walk around the block at the stroke of midnight!
Denmark : It is pretty surprising but, it is very auspicious to find the door heaped with pile of broken dishes on New Year in Denmark. Throughout the year people save all the old dishes and then throw them at the entrance of the homes on the New Year eve. It is believed that the number of broken dishes you have, that many friends you have which is considered very auspicious.
In most of the parts of Scandinavian countries, New Year celebrations are done with great joy and preparation. There are many Danish cuisines which served on the New Year party eve. Kale, is among the favorite dishes which is served with sprinkled sugar and cinnamon with white sauce.
Greece : January 1st is the most important date in the history of Greece. The day is not only observed as New Year but, also as St Basil’s Day. The Greek Orthodox churches considered St Basil as one of the forefathers.
Special New Year bread is baked by all the family members. A coin is buried in the dough which is considered very auspicious. Greeks celebrate the New Year with great pomp and show. They share traditional sweet bread with everyone. The coin brings good luck and fortune for the year.
Some traditions to bring in good luck in the New Year
It is a common notion that the New Year will bring in new hopes and luck to people. Hence, people take utmost care in preparing themselves for the New Year.
Following are some of the popular practices that are performed at different countries to welcome good luck in the New Year.
Australia – In Australia suckling pigs are considered to bring good luck and hence, traditional foods are prepared with sucking pigs. In dessert they offer peppermint ice cream in the shape of four-leaf clover.
England- In Britain the tradition says that the first guest on the New Year must be male, carrying gifts for the master of the house.
Colombia – In Colombia, many people wear gold or red underwear for prosperity and good luck.
Spain – In Spain, people will eat 12 grapes with each stroke of the bell. This is said to bring good luck for the coming 12 months.
Japan – In Japan people decorate their homes with pine branch, bamboo stalk and plum blossom which symbolizes longevity, prosperity and nobility respectively.
India : Hindu New Year is the time of festivity. This is the time to meet and greet people and share gifts and sweets. Hindus will paint their houses, decorate it and lit up lamps and candles in the evening. Some of the traditions followed in Hindu New Year celebrations are,
• Lighting up oil lamps
• Making rangolis at houses
• Buying and gifting new clothes
• Distributing sweets amongst neighbors and relatives
• Worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. They are believed to bring in wealth and prosperity.
Whatever your traditions maybe, it is a wonderful time full of celebration and hope for the new year!
Happy New Year!!!