New Year's traditions, customs and rituals around the world
We have a few more days until we celebrate the New Year. Whether you're at home with family or in a foreign country with friends, you'll probably want to consider specific New Year's traditions. All over the world, different cultures have unique New Year's traditions, and below you have some of the most interesting :).
New Year's traditions
In Spania it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one for each clock at midnight. Each grape represents good luck for each month of the following year. In larger cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, people often gather in the main markets to eat grapes together and drink cava.
In Columbia, those who hope for a year full of travel will walk with the empty suitcase through the block, on the street. It is said that the suitcase will have to be filled with memories of the New Year's travels.
In Denmark, people break glasses and plates at the door of family or friends' houses to catch evil spirits. People also sit on chairs and, at midnight, jump together to "jump" in the new year with luck and joy.
New Year's Eve customs and rituals
In Greece, an onion is hung on the door of the house on New Year's Eve, as a symbol of rebirth in the new year. On New Year's Day, parents wake up their children, beating them on the head with onions: D.
In Brazil, as well as in other Central and South American countries, such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, it is believed that wearing special underwear on New Year's Eve brings good luck. The most popular colors are red, which is believed to bring love in the New Year, but also yellow, which is believed to bring money. Also in Brazil is the custom of throwing flowers into the ocean, as an offering to Yemoja, a goddess who controls the seas and oceans.
Scots take note of the "first step" on New Year's Eve. It is said that the first person to cross the threshold of the house in the new year should bring a gift of luck. An interesting habit from Scotland it also consists of fire ceremonies to purify the coming year!
In Russia, there is a habit of bathing in the frozen lakes on the night between the years. Although the temperature is normally well below zero on New Year's Eve, people travel all over the world to take part in this icy holiday.
In Italy it is customary to wear red underwear. In Italian culture, the color red is associated with fertility, so people wear this color in the hope of a better, fertile new year.
Superstitions for the new year
In Chile, New Year's services are not held at the church, but in cemeteries. This change of scenery allows people to sit with their deceased family members and include them in the New Year's Eve festivities.
In Japan, it is customary for the new year to be greeted with a bowl of stove noodles, which are eaten in a ritual known as toshikoshi stove.
In Germany, all New Year's Eve festivities revolve around a unique ritual, known as Bleigießen, or lead casting. Using the flames from a candle, each person melts a small piece of lead or tin and pours it into a container of cold water. It is said that the shape of the lead or tin will reveal the fate of the person for the next year.
In Czech, the apple is the one that predicts the quality of the new year. One night before New Year's Eve, the fruit is cut in half, and the shape of the apple core is said to determine the fate of all around. If the core of the apple looks like a star, then everyone will soon be reunited with happiness and health. But if it looks like a cross, then someone at the New Year's Eve party should expect to get sick.
In Turksa, an old tradition says that sprinkling salt on the doorstep as soon as the clock strikes midnight brings peace and prosperity throughout the new year.
Romanians respect several customs
In Romania, over the years these rituals and superstitions have been adapted and influenced by European countries. Thus, on the night between the years, Romanians usually eat fish to get through the new year more easily, to wear a new item of clothing as it is the new year, to wear red underwear for luck and fertility, to eat grapes such as the custom of Spain.
If you are familiar with various other New Year's Eve customs and rituals, please leave them in the comments!