Happy New Year!
New Year's Traditions
New Year is celebrated with equal enthusiasm everywhere. Though cultures and traditions vary in different parts of the world, nearly all are meant to bring happiness, prosperity and good luck in the New Year. Here’s a list of some of the interesting ways New Year is celebrated around the world.
England: The English believe that the first guest for the year will bring fortune. He should be a male, should enter through the front door and bear some traditional gifts like a loaf for the kitchen, drink for the head of the family and coal to light the fire, all of which will bring good luck throughout the year.
Denmark: Residents keep a pile of dishes, all broken, in front of the door. For this they save old dishes throughout the year. This symbolizes friendship and brotherhood and they believe the one with the largest pile of dishes outside the door has the most friends.
China: Every front door of a house is painted in red which symbolizes happiness and good fortune. They hide all the knives for the day.
Brazil: Brazilians believe that lentils signify wealth and prosperity. So they serve food items like soup or rice. On New Year’s Eve, priestesses dress up in blue and white for an auspicious ceremony celebrated for the water goddess. Also a sacrificial boat filled with jewelery, candles and flowers is pushed out to sea from the beach of Rio de Janeiro.
German: Germans pour molten lead into cold water and the shape the lead forms while solidifying predicts the future. Heart shapes symbolize marriage whereas round shapes denote good luck. Anchor shapes tell that you need help and a cross signifies someone’s sad demise.
Belgium: New Year's Eve is known as Saint Sylvester Eve. They believe in throwing family parties, where everyone kisses, exchanges greetings and raises a toast to welcome the new year. Children usually save money to buy decorative stationery so that they can write new year greetings to elders.
Egypt: Egyptians believe that the New Year begins only when the new crescent moon is visible in the sky.
Wales: During midnight, at the initial toll of the clock, the back door of the house is opened and then immediately shut. This symbolizes releasing the old year and locking out all the bad luck it brought. At the 12th toll of the clock, the door is re-opened to welcome the new year with all its goodness, luck and prosperity.
Japan: Japanese New Year or Oshogatsu is meant for celebrations with family, starting with the decoration of the home to welcome luck and fortune. They decorate with a pine branch, called kadomatsu, which denotes longevity; a stalk of bamboo, which symbolizes prosperity; and a plum blossom, which denotes nobility.
Philippines: Filipinos believe that round things are auspicious. So they consume grapes, gather coins, and wear polkas dotted dresses to demonstrate their faith that circular things will help attract good fortune. They also throw coins as New Year begins to increase wealth and prosperity.
Spain: The Spanish eat 12 grapes at every toll of the clock during the New Year.
Netherlands: Discarded Christmas trees are burned in giant bonfires in the streets to purge the old year and greet the new.
Rome: The celebrations last for three days where the Romans decorate their houses with greenery and colorful lights, They choose gifts like gold or silver for prosperity and honey for sweetness.
United States: Kissing the first person you see as the clock strikes midnight is an auspicious gesture that purifies evil. This annual rite draws its inspiration from much older Roman, English and German traditions.