New Year’s Eve is often associated with drinking champagne and counting the clock strokes. Globalization takes place as fewer and fewer unique traditions remain, yet if we look closely enough we may be able to dig some amusing ones out. Apparently, on New Year’s Eves, some rather crazy things happen around the world. People throw their old furniture out through the windows, eat exactly 12 grapes, break dishes on the neighbor’s doors, splash water on random people walking by, and even ultra-carefully examine their guests. Why do they do all those crazy things? For the good fortune of course!
Food is a holy thing for Italians. Needless to say that festive tables, especially Christmas and New Year ones, are always subject to careful preparations. A New Year’s table must have dishes made with lentil. Italian believe that lentil brings financial prosperity.
Italian New Year parties always last till dawn. It is their national tradition to see the sunrise on the first day of the new year.
Another Italian tradition is to throw out old junk right out through the windows on the New Year’s night. While they are getting rid of troubles of the old year, some people can get seriously injured as they walking under the windows, since the objects that fly out of the windows vary from old pans to wardrobes and TV sets. To be honest, they don’t do this anymore, but about 60 years it was really so.
Spanish also commonly celebrate New Year till dawn. At the end of the all-night-long party they traditionally eat chocolate doughnuts.
The tradition of eating 12 grapes at the New Year midnight is popular in many countries. However, this tradition is cherished particularly carefully in Mexico; in this country it is not a race game but rather an analytical process. At each clock stroke one grape has to be eaten, since each grape symbolizes one of the months. Mexicans examine taste of each grape carefully, as the taste tells them what that month will be like for them.
If a Venezuelan wants to travel a lot in the coming year, then he or she will be carrying a suitcase around the house for the whole December 31 day. Also, New Year has to be met wearing yellow underwear, as it is believed to bring good luck.
Venezuelan’s write down all their wishes and dreams before the New Year night. When midnight is close they gather their wish-notes and burn them.
The whole Europe likes to make tons of noise on the New Year’s night. However, French honor this tradition most carefully. This tradition is based on an old belief that noise will chase bad spirits away, which are most active on the New Year’s Eve when the coming year replaces the previous one. So, French cities are extremely noisy on New Year’s night.
The French believe that the first person to enter the house on the first day of the new year symbolizes what that year will be like for the owners of the house. The midnight guest must be male in the first place, since he will bring fortune.
People from this warm country traditionally greet the New Year by throwing a bucket full of water out into the street. This way they get rid of everything bad and prepare for the good things to come in the coming year. They also cast a New Year spell for good luck by scattering the house and yard with sugar.
Bread baking is one of the prime New Year traditions in Poland. Baking doughnuts, which are called paczki in Poland, for the New Year will bring prosperity in the coming year.
Children in Philippines have to jump 10 times at the New Year’s midnight if they want to grow tall. Also, Philipinos believe that a table filled with various fruits in various colors and clothes with polka dot or any other round ornament on them will bring prosperity.
Traditionally on New Year’s Eve house facades are decorated with straw garlands in Japan. Those garlands chase evil spirits away and symbolize luck and happiness. Once the new year arrives, Japanese laugh out loud as laughter is believed to bring good luck as well.
Denmark has a well-cherished tradition to have a pile of broken dishes at the front door. The Danish collect dishes for the whole year and then throw them at their friends’ and neighbor’s doors. If a Dane finds a lot of broken plates at his door on the new year morning he is happy as his life is good and he has a lot of friends.
In the Netherlands branches of juniper are brought into the house before the New Year’s Eve. Those branches are first carried around the house and are then burnt. Through this tradition they rid the house of diseases.
The New Year will be filled with luck and peace for a Brazilian if he or she celebrates the New Year’s Eve wearing white clothes. Candles are lit on the New Year night. There is a belief that the marine goddess will see those candles and grant wishes.
If you know interesting New Year traditions in these or other countries, feel free to share them in the comments.