3 New Years Eve Traditions Around the World
New Year’s is an important time in many cultures and for many people. For many it signifies an end to their old ways and opens new beginnings and that is a reason why so many around the world make New Year’s resolutions. Although there are still many countries and people who celebrate the New Year on a different day based on their respective calendars, it has now become more or less uniform across the world to celebrate New Year’s on the 1st of January. More than the actual date however, it is on the 31st of December or New Year’s Eve that there are more festivities and a countdown ensues to when the clock would strike twelve. Traditions differ across the world as to how people welcome the New Year. Here are New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world.
1. Send the old year home with some major noise
Music sounds and drums have always been a part of New Year celebrations and from old time people have been making some serious noise and music to celebrate the coming of the New Year and to bid farewell to the old one. The old tradition in Thailand was to fire guns on New Year’s Eve to frighten off demons, the Chinese burst firecrackers to chase away the forces of darkness and in the early American colonies, they shot a few rounds into the air to ring in a New Year. These days the Italians ring their church bells, the swiss beat their drums at the strike of twelve and in America, there is the blaring of sirens and party horns to bring in the New Year.
2. Food and the New Year
Food also plays an important role in the New Year celebrations around the world. Food signifies a lot to many people other than nourishment and certain food are thought to bring good fortune and luck in the New Year. Black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune in the southern states of the US and is prepared on New Year’s Eve. Another food that brings in good fortune when eaten at the beginning of the year is the Doughnut, for that matter any ring shaped pastry or treat. The Dutch eat something resembling fritters called the Ollie Bean, while the Irish savor some bannocks. Rice is considered auspicious in India and Pakistan on New Year’s Eve while the Greeks started the traditions of eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes twelve.
3. New Year resolutions
The plan to change the old ways and turn over a new leaf in life is also a big part of New Year’s Eve traditions around the world. Jews observe Rosh Hashanah leave aside some time on New Year’s Eve for personal introspection and prayer, they also visit the graves of their family members. Christians begin mas or sermon at 11.30pm on New Year’s Eve and spend the midnight in church. The practice of making resolutions however was started by the Babylonians who saw it as a way to reflect on their past and pan for the future. It is a tradition that is more than 2000 years old.
Customs and traditions vary around the world and people celebrate the New Year and the New Year’s Eve in different ways, but the one thing common is that everyone has some sort of expectation that the New Year would bring them changes.