The New Year is generally a time for new beginnings, hopes and aspirations, along with bidding the old or past year goodbye. Online travel advisor has compiled a Top 10 favorite list of New Years Tradition from across the globe.
1) Germany & Finland
If you are into fortune telling and all things mystical, this is definitely for you. In both countries, family and friends gather on New Year’s at a spot for lead pouring or molybdomancy a technique of divination that involves interpreting the shape made by molten lead in cold water. Based on the shape seen this is used to make predictions for the coming year.
Families in Mexico celebrate New Year’s (Vispera de Ano Nuevo) mixing religion, tradition, superstition and food. Families decorate homes with colors representing wishes for the New Year: red for love, yellow for work, and green for money. They also eat a grape preferably seedless with each strike of the clock at 12 midnight while making a wish with each grape.
The Welsh name for New Year is Calenning, which means celebration or gifts. Traditionally in Wales, gifts and money are given to friends and families. Nowadays it’s customary to give bread and cheese on New Year’s.
The Japanese New year is termed Oshagatsu and is marked with a wide range of cultural and religious traditions. Since 1873 Oshogatsu has been celebrated on January 1, but traditionally it followed the Chinese lunar calendar. Ōmisoka (New Year’s Eve) welcomes Toshigami, the New Year’s god. Handwritten New Years Day postcards are sent to family and friends and the post office guarantees any card sent will arrive on January 1.
Bisperas ng Bagong Taon is the Philippines New Year. It is a public holiday where people celebrate in the company of family and friends. Most Filipinos follow a tradition that includes wearing clothes with dots in the belief that circle attracts money and wealth. Another tradition is throwing coins at midnight that is said to increase wealth.
The Scots refer to hogmanay as the last day of the year and is one of the world’s most recognized New Year’s celebrations. Hogmanay dates back to the celebrations of the winter solstice incorporating the elements of the Gaelic celebration of Samhian. One of the most widespread customs linked with Hogmanay is the practice of “first-footing” which begins immediately after midnight. First-footing involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor house and giving a symbolic gift such as salt, coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) to bring luck to the householder. This tradition can go well into mid January.
In Ecuador, a quirky tradition see men donning fine frocks dressing up as women to represent the widow of the year past. At midnight, families and communities come together to light fireworks and burn Monigotes—papier-mâche effigies—of politicians, public figures and popular culture icons.
Christmas in Greece is generally solemn however New Year’s is filled with celebrations and gift-giving. January 1 is the day of Aghios Vassilis (St. Basil), the Greek Santa Claus, and many customs are based upon his arrival. New Years Eve is the day children go from door to door and ask permission to sing kalanta or carol to bring good wishes to their neighbors and announce the coming of Aghios Vassilis and bless their house.
Italians celebrate the New Year with loads of delicious food. Lentils are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year to those who eat them on New Year’s Eve and also represent the money they will earn in the coming year. Red underwear is the way to go New Year’s Eve if you are seeking love or help in fertility. To complete this ritual, the underwear must be thrown away on January 1.
Chile has many traditions and customs to bring them luck on the New Year. Eating lentils and having one dozen grapes one for each month of the year is said to ensure prosperity in the coming year. Also drinking a glass of champagne with a gold ring inside brings luck. Sticking a ‘luca’ (1,000 Chilean peso [$2.10] bill) in your shoe before midnight will see it multiply in the coming year.