Seven New Year’s Day tra­di­tions around the world

Weekend Witness - - News -

NO mat­ter where you are in the world, the new year means new chances, op­por­tu­ni­ties and a fresh start.

We let go of the past and look for­ward to mak­ing the best of what is to come.

Not only do we ring in the new year at dif­fer­ent times be­cause of var­i­ous time zones, but depend­ing on where you come from, you may have dif­fer­ent ways of cel­e­brat­ing it.

In South Africa, we spend time with friends and fam­ily wait­ing to count down the sec­onds into the New Year.

In many ar­eas around the coun­try, there will be huge par­ties thrown and the new year will be wel­comed with a dis­play of fire­works and cheer­ing.

But this is not the case in some coun­tries — here is how some coun­tries cel­e­brate New Year’s Day. Den­mark

Many Danes will cel­e­brate the New Year with a home-made meal of boiled cod com­plete with home-made mus­tard sauce.

For dessert, they will en­joy Kransek­age — a Dan­ish cake made by lay­er­ing rings of marzi­pan on top of each other. This cake sym­bol­ises prom­ises of hap­pi­ness and riches.

Since 1980, the coun­try watches an 18-minute short film called Din­ner for One. This black-and-white film is such a clas­sic on New Year’s Eve that Danes were up in arms when it wasn’t aired in 1985!

If Danes are watch­ing the live broad­cast of the mid­night count­down on tele­vi­sion, they will watch it from the high­est point in their liv­ing room, nor­mally the couch.

When the clock strikes mid­night, they will jump down from the couch. This shows that they have over­come hur­dles and chal­lenges from the past year. They will then sing a song ti­tled Wel­come to the Lord’s New Year.

It is also tra­di­tion to smash bro­ken china against your friends’ door.

The more bro­ken china you have at your door, the more friends you have. This so­lid­i­fies friend­ships and is a sym­bol of ev­er­last­ing friend­ship, the happy Danes be­lieve. Ecuado­ri­ans set fire to pa­per-mâché fig­ures named the Viejos. Spain

Fam­i­lies gather to watch the count­down to mid­night at the clock town in Puerta del Sol. The clock will chime 12 times. Each per­son will have grapes ready for the count­down. With each ring, they will pop a grape in their mouth; the 12 grapes sym­bol­ise the 12 months of the year. Eat­ing a grape for each month will bring good for­tune for that month.

Spaniards also be­lieve that you should be wear­ing red un­der­wear while per­form­ing this grape-eat­ing rit­ual.

Af­ter the last grape has been eaten, peo­ple will hug and give each other cheek kisses while toast­ing on bub­bly and eat­ing al­mond and honey nougat.

An­other New Year’s tra­di­tion is drop­ping a gold ring in a glass of bub­bly, this is con­sid­ered lucky. Philip­pines

Filipinos cel­e­brate the New Year with a large feast for friends and fam­ily.

One of the dishes is long Filipino noo­dles that are be­lieved to bring good luck. Round fruits will also be found on the ta­ble as they are a sign of pros­per­ity.

Most fam­i­lies will have the fruits as a cen­tre­piece at the ta­ble and will have 12 fruits to rep­re­sent the 12 months.

No fish or chicken may be eaten as they bring bad luck!

Money is not spent on the New Year be­cause Filipinos be­lieve this will mean your fi­nances will be a sham­bles in the forth­com­ing year.

Chil­dren in the Philip­pines will jump high on New Year be­cause they be­lieve they will grow taller in the com­ing year if they do so.

Filipinos also leave their doors wide open on New Year’s Day to let in good and pos­i­tive en­ergy; and they don’t sweep any floors in case they chase these good spir­its out.

They are en­cour­aged to scream out loud when the clock strikes 12 to ward off evil spir­its; and polka dots are nor­mally worn on New Year’s Day to bring pros­per­ity to the wearer. Peru

In Peru, three pota­toes are hid­den and picked at ran­dom when the clock strikes 12.

One potato is peeled, one is un­peeled and the last one is half peeled. The pota­toes rep­re­sent your fi­nances. If you pick the peeled potato it means you will have fi­nan­cial trou­ble, an un­peeled one rep­re­sents good fi­nances and an half-peeled one will be a nor­mal year of fi­nances for you.

The colour you choose to wear also has a mean­ing.

Yel­low rep­re­sents good luck, while At New Year Danes eat Kransek­age, a cake of lay­ered rings of marzi­pan. white is for fer­til­ity and good health. Red is the sym­bol of love and green sym­bol­ises wealth and riches.

If you sprin­kle rice around your house, you will bring good for­tune and luck your way. Other peo­ple fill their pock­ets with lentils, cin­na­mon or wheat for luck and keep those in­gre­di­ents in the kitchens for the re­main­der of the year.

Some Peru­vians write five wishes on a piece of pa­per and then dip the pa­per in a glass of cham­pagne to make them come true.

And in some vil­lages around the coun­try, peo­ple will fist-fight to set­tle dis­putes so they can leave their dif­fer­ences be­hind in the past.

Eat all the pork you can find on New Year’s in Bo­livia, as this will bring you pros­per­ity.

Be­cause of their his­tory, Bo­li­vians also par­take in the Span­ish tra­di­tion of eat­ing grapes at New Year, but add a wish for every grape they eat. They also wear their un­der­wear back­wards on the day.

Peo­ple who wish to travel take their lug­gage to the door in the hope of mak­ing the wish hap­pen.

Oth­ers count money when the clock strikes mid­night to bring riches their way in the New Year or bake a coin into a cake. Who­ever finds the coin will have good luck in the new year.

Ecuado­ri­ans set fire to pa­per-mâché fig­ures named the Viejos. Con­struc­tion of these fig­ures is a fam­ily ac­tiv­ity and set­ting them alight is a way of say­ing good­bye to the old year.

Some men will dress up in women’s cloth­ing and mourn these burn­ing fig­ures and will only stop once they’re given money.

Once the Viejos have burnt down, cel­e­bra­tions com­mence on the streets with mu­sic and danc­ing.

Ecuado­ri­ans also par­take in the grapeeat­ing rit­ual and the colour of their un­der­wear is de­ter­mined by what they would like to re­ceive in the New Year. Ja­pan

Ja­panese peo­ple take their New Year’s cel­e­bra­tions very se­ri­ously. Dec­o­ra­tions are put up and many peo­ple will place or­anges in wreaths and New Year’s cards are ex­changed.

Steamed fish and buck­wheat noo­dles are eaten at New Year. The noo­dles are said to bring strength and re­silience.

Bells will be rung from Bud­dish tem­ples 108 times to rep­re­sent the 108 hu­man de­sires that cause suf­fer­ing.

Last, but not least, some Ja­panese peo­ple travel to ar­eas with a good view to watch the first sun­rise of the year.

— Par­ent24.

Bo­livia

Ecuador

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