New Year traditions around the world
Updated: Mar 3
Fancy having a diverse New Year party? Here are some suggestions with traditions from all around the world:
Shoo the evil, welcome the new: it is the time of letting go of old things no longer useful and planning a new start, similar to death and rebirth cycles.
Singing and dances: going and singing with the plough, bear or goat are dances and songs accompanied by sheep/cattle bells and local traditional instruments, that are to chase the bad spirits away and make room for the new year.
Masks: made in shapes and sizes that are to scare the devil spirits, wool, leather, cloth, fur, wood or animal horns masks are being made and worn for the same purpose, of chasing the bead spirits away.
Wearing red: for bringing good luck, but worn only on 31st of December after which it should be thrown away the next day.
Main dish: pig’s trotter or sausage (abundance) and lentils (coin shaped for good luck and prosperity) as a good omen for the following year.
Grapes and dried fruits: eating 12 beads of grape, one for each month for being wise and frugal with your newfound wealth.
Gifts: an ancient Roman tradition mentioned offering to each other honey and figs for having a sweet new year, while the laurel leaves should bring fortune.
Eating 12 grapes: once the countdown reaches 12, eat 1 grape for each second. These represent each of the 12 months ahead and their luck.
Leaping into the New Year: getting on top of chairs and jumping all together at midnight in the New Year in hopes of good luck.
Predicting the following year with tin: cast molten tin into a container of water and interpret its final shape such as heart or ring for a marriage, ship or plane for travelling, or pigs for plenty of food.
Gift for luck: the first person crossing the house threshold should bring a gift for bringing the good luck.
First guest: similar to their neighbours, the first guest should be bringing gifts, yet this time bread (abundance), salt (wealth) and coal (warmth); more than that, the person should be a young, dark-headed male.
Whipped cream: dropping it to the floor and leaving it there for the richness of the future year.
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
Specific colours for the underwear: wearing red is for bringing love, green is for luck, while yellow is to bring money.
Water and cleansing: besides cleaning the houses, cars or gardens, they throw buckets of water out the window do shoo away the bad vibes of the previous year.
COLUMBIA & VENEZUELA
Walking around midnight with empty suitcases, with the passport in your hands: in the hope to travel all year long in the next one this should be a try-it-out.
Red everywhere: getting the doors painted in red, wrapping gifts in red, or lightning and launching red lanterns.
Cleaning and decorating the house: this activity is performed by the entire family together, and natural objects are used for the decorative purposes: pine branches, plum blossoms or bamboo.
Round all the way: eating round foods, carrying round objects (coins mostly) or wearing polka dotted clothes, as round shapes symbolizes money and aim to bring wealth in the New Year as well.
New clothes for a new start: wearing new ao dai traditional outfits that include a long gown worn with pants.
Light parade: being the mid-summer here, people gather for picnics, concerts, fireworks and launching lanterns during the night.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dropping the ball: while the fireworks have been banned in the New York City, where every year thousands of people choose to spend their eve, a big ball is being dropped down as the clock strikes midnight.
Happy New Year!