Interesting New Year Traditions Across the Globe
There are many traditions of the new year which are celebrated by the people in different corners of the world. People across the globe ring into the new year with great warmth, zeal, and enthusiasm. They hope to stay alive, lucky, and prosperous. People in different countries have different traditions to welcome the coming year in the best way possible.
There are different practices around the world that people follow. A few of these have been listed here as performed in different countries.
Starting from Spain and going through the new year traditions, there is this unique tradition of eating grapes at the start of the new year. The people of Spain eat twelve grapes at the midnight to grace the tradition. The tradition dates back to the 19th century. It is also reported that back in the 18th century, the vine-growers of the Alicante region started this tradition. The idea was to sell maximum grapes at the end of the year. However, this celebration of eating grapes made its way to commoners. The Spaniards believe that eating twelve grapes for each bell brings good fortune, and there is prosperity in the home.
The new year in Scotland is really new and unique. The Scottish are habitual of observing quite a lot of new year traditions. One of the important ones is first footing. They believe that if a tall, handsome, and dark-haired male crosses the threshold of the house after midnight, he brings good luck with him. The men should carry coal gifts, salt, whiskey, and shortbread to contribute to bringing the good fortune. The fortune which they believe is going to stay for the whole year.
It is also interesting to note the reason the Scottish consider black hair men lucky. During the times when the Vikings invaded Scotland, there were the light-haired men on the doorsteps of the people with a giant ax. Hence, the Scottish don’t admire the light-haired men anymore and a dark-haired man symbolizes success and grandeur.
There is quite an odd tradition of eating the deep-fried oliebollen. These are small doughnut-like balls. The tradition got initiated when ancient Germanic tribes ate these deep-fried dough pieces during the Yule. According to which their goddess Perchta, the Belly Slitter tried to cut their bellies open and start filling the stomachs with trashes (as a punishment), the fat from the oliebollen will make her sword slide right. So, the oliebollen are enjoyed on New Year’s Eve and there is hardly a Dutch food vendor who is not selling these in the winter.
Russia is also not behind in the league of having weird new year traditions. It’s been a practice in Russia for more than 25 years now to dive into the world’s largest freshwater lake. They do it to get the new year tree, which is usually decorated spruce. The people get it for more than 100 ft below the surface. The temperature is normally below freezing during the New year in Russia. However, still, people manage to travel from all over the world to partake in the tradition. Russian people also observe the silence of 12 seconds before the midnight stroke and make wishes for the new year.
The second weird tradition of the Russian is about consuming the ashes. These are not human ashes before you feel disgusted. As per the culture, the Russian folks write their wishes and desires on the piece of paper and later burn these papers with candles. They mix the ashes with champagne and consume it on new year’s night.
The people of Brazil have this tradition of littering the ocean with candles and white flowers. In the South American countries, the ocean is commonplace, where the people go on New Year’s Eve and make offerings to the Yemoja. She is considered a water deity who controls the seas and showers blessings to the people for the year to come.
The Italian love to ring into the new year in red underwear. Red is the color of fertility in Italian culture, and males wear the red undergarment in the hope of conceiving the coming year. They also believe to throw the old items and things out of the house to signify how they expect new stuff and things in the coming year.
Greece people have this tradition of hanging the onions on their doorsteps. This tradition has absolutely nothing to do with vampires. The Greeks have this belief of considering the onions as a symbol of rebirth. So, they have this habit of hanging the pungent vegetable on their doors to welcome the growth throughout the year. The Greek culture has a long affiliation and association with this food as an idea of development. Hence, they keep planting the onions and seeing their roots growing, eventually helping them grow.
This tradition is quite unique. The people of Chile ring in the new year with the deceased ones. They don’t make their presence in churches on New Year’s Eve rather go to cemeteries. They do it so that they can have time with their family members and share the new year festivities with them.
The Japanese believe in having a bowl of soba noodles to welcome the new year. The ritual is called ‘toshikoshi soba’. These are also known as the year crossing noodles. Although the origin of this tradition is unknown. As the Japanese believe, the thin and long length of the soba symbolizes a long and healthy life. It is also believed that the soba’s noodles are made from the buckwheat plant, which is strong and resilient. So, the people have pasta to test their strength. They also like to have the prawns and believe that eating prawns in the new year brings long life. Japanese also consume the herring roe on New Year’s Eve for fertility.
The Buddhist temples in Japan have this tradition of ringing the bells 107 times on New Year’s Eve right after the clock strikes midnight. The tradition is called ‘joyanokane’. The Japanese practice it to cleanse the sins of the past year by removing the 107 evil desires.
Japanese also have this tradition of visiting a local temple to exchange the luck charms of the previous year with the new one.
The Danish people have an interesting tradition of smashing the plates and dishes in the new year. They believe in breaking the dishes and having these piled up on the doorstep by the end of New Year’s Eve. It is their tradition to throw the plates on the front doors of their friends and neighbors in the new year. They believe that doing so leaves the ill intentions and any aggression behind with the previous year. They also believe to have a bigger pile of broken dishes to be lucky and happy in the coming year.
Another tradition they practice is literally jumping from the sofa or chair to ring in the new year. It is like jumping into the new year. They consider it lucky to do this, and luck surrounds them throughout the year.
Germany has its own unique traditions to follow on New Year’s Eve. New year’s festivities in Germany center around the activity of lead pouring. Everyone from the crowd has to take a small piece of lead and melt it from the flame of the candle. They later pour it into the container of cold water. They believe that the shape of lead or tin reveals the person’s fate for the upcoming year. A ring or heart shape depicts an upcoming wedding. A ball refers to bringing luck, and the shape of a pig means there is plenty of food coming in the new year.
The Czech people have the contribution of apples to decide their good luck on New Year’s Eve. According to this tradition, the fruit is cut in half, the apple core and its shape decide the fortune of everyone who is standing in the surrounding. The star-like apple core hints the happiness and health for everyone and if the core is like the cross, it might make the people fall sick and bring ailment for them.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Estonia could be all the foodies can ask for. They serve way more than the three meals of the day. The people believe that having at least seven, nine, or 12 meals could bring positive things and good energy in the coming year. Besides that, the people of Estonia throughout the country consider these numbers lucky.
People in Turkey love to sprinkle salt on their doorsteps in order to give a lucky welcome to the new year. They do it right when the clock strikes midnight. The Turkish people believe to promote prosperity and peace and have it as well by doing so on New Year’s Eve. Other than this unique tradition, there are fireworks, festivals, and other new year activities.
Well, this one is really weird and unique as well. It is quite a tradition in Ireland that the single girls sleep with the mistletoe (which is a parasitic plant) under their pillows on New Year’s Eve. They believe by doing so they might get their future husband in the coming year. If not in reality, at least, in their dreams. Isn’t it strange?
The Irish people have many traditions which they practice on New Year’s Eve. They also believe to bang their houses and outside walls with bread to keep away the evil spirits and bad luck. Besides that, they believe to ring into the new year with cleaned homes and putting an additional plate on their dinner table for a family member lost in the previous year.
The Swiss people are not behind in having the new year traditions. They practice this strange tradition, according to which they drop a dollop of cream on the floor on New Year’s Eve. They believe that doing so brings peace, prosperity, and luck in the new year. Swiss people love to have fun and enjoy the parades and festivals of the new year.
The people of Armenia bake special bread on New Year’s Eve. They have named it ‘Good luck bread’. They use this special ingredient in their bread, which is a stroke of good luck. Obviously, they can not add this ingredient literally into the batter. However, they follow the tradition of kneading the bread with this metaphorical good wishes into every bread batter which they bake on the last year of the day.
The new year in Mexico in North America is Año Neuvo in Spanish and considered a time of embracing the new energies. The Mexicans throw the buckets of the water through the windows and open their front door to sweep out the old year symbolically and give place to the new year. The families toss the coins on the grounds, and then these are swept back into the house. According to their beliefs, doing so brings prosperity and a bright future. Other than this they attend parties, parades, and other eye-catching fireworks as the normal traditions.
As in other Latin countries, the people in Puerto Rico throw pails of the water to sweep away the evil spirits. They also have this practice of eating 12 grapes at the midnight to welcome the 12 months of the new year with luck and prosperity. They also believe to clean their houses, cars, streets, and everything to give the new year a tidy welcome just like in Ireland.
The new year is welcomed by one and all in different styles and with a variety of traditions. Every country has its tradition which they practice on New Year’s Eve to welcome the year. This includes the common fireworks, new year festivals, and parades as well as a number of weird traditions. Spanish like to have 12 grapes to welcome to have the luck and prosperity in the next 12 months, and people in Armenia bake a good luck bread with a metaphoric ingredient of good luck. So every country enjoys New Year’s Eve according to their customs and traditions.
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