- New Year’s Eve rockets, “Dinner for One” and champagne traditionally accompany the turn of the year.
- But how do people in other countries celebrate the New Year?
- An overview of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s customs around the world.
Hanover. Most countries celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31st and greet the new and upcoming year. New year’s celebrations take place before noon with streamers, fire tongs punch and fondue, and from midnight with rockets and firecrackers – but this is not possible or only possible to a limited extent this year.
While there is once again a discussion about fireworks, people in other regions of the world are looking forward to the New Year with different traditions – an overview.
Italy: red underwear brings good luck for the new year
In Italy, red underwear is compulsory on New Year’s Eve. If you want to be happy and successful, you should “slide” into the New Year with red underwear. Department stores and lingerie stores, therefore, change their laundry displays shortly after Christmas at the latest every year – everything is red. For example, pork knuckle is eaten with lentils.
France: feast in peace
The French usually celebrate the New Year with big parties. They prefer to feast in peace with friends. Instead of firecrackers and rockets, the New Year is greeted with culinary delights with champagne, foie gras, or oysters.
Spain: grapes save from harm
In Spain, grapes are part of New Year’s Eve. They are supposed to bring luck and avert disaster. At each of the twelve strikes at midnight that ring in the New Year, a bunch of grapes has to be eaten and something has to be made a wish. All grapes must be consumed by the twelfth stroke of the bell, otherwise, you risk bad luck in the New Year. Supermarkets even offer their own jars with twelve grapes for New Year’s Eve.
The custom of eating grapes is said to go back to 1909: At that time, the grape harvest was so abundant that someone had the idea to mine the grape hill in this way. As in Italy, red underwear is said to bring good luck in Spain too. If you then throw a golden ring into your champagne glass, you will – according to custom – only experience happiness in the New Year.
Greece: This is where gaming is done
The Greeks gamble at the turn of the year – at home or in the casino with dice games or with the cards. The big game usually starts in the evening of December 31st and continues until the morning of January 1st. Whoever wins should be lucky all year round. Whoever does not win can at least hope for luck in love.
Turkey: water on for prosperity
In Turkey, they wish a Happy New Year with “Mutlu yillar!”. As in Italy and Spain, wearing red underwear is considered lucky in Turkey. Another curious custom: whoever turns on all the taps in the house ensures wealth and blessings in the New Year. Not exactly ecological, but if it helps …
Bulgaria: Back blow brings a healthy year
In Bulgaria the New Year starts with slaps on the back – they are supposed to bring health and wealth. For this New Year’s custom, a branch of the cornel cherry tree is colorfully decorated, making it a “surwatschka”. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, children go from house to house and hit the residents on the back. They wish you a healthy, happy, and fruitful New Year. In return, they receive small gifts such as candies, cakes, fruit, or change.
Finland: Reading the future with horseshoes
In Finland, it is a New Year’s Eve tradition to melt down a whole horseshoe and freeze it again in freezing cold water to predict the future. Perhaps you can even read a monetary profit from it?
Sweden: with lobsters and oysters into the new year
The Swedes celebrate the New Year in a classic way with New Year’s Eve bangs and parties. Big New Year’s Eve events take place in the metropolises. In the more rural areas, people celebrate more contemplatively with relatives and friends. No matter where the party goes, the food is lavish: lobster and oysters are traditional New Year’s Eve meals in Sweden.
Russia: Giving presents from “Father Frost”
On New Year’s Eve, Father Frost and his companion bring gifts to “Snegurochka” (Snow Maiden) in Russia. Jolka festivals are celebrated across the country. The family sits around the “Jolka” (the Christmas tree) and eats. The Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the western one, does not follow the Gregorian calendar, but rather the Julian calendar: Christmas is on the night of January 7th, and New Year’s on January 13th.
Czech Republic: Apples predict the future
In the Czech Republic, many families still pour lead to looking into the future – but the custom of cutting an apple in half and reading the fate on the core is even older. If the cores form a cross, disaster threatens; in a star shape, they stand for luck. According to Czech tradition, a midnight meal with lentils should bring financial success. Because the lenses look a bit like coins, they are supposed to promise good luck and a blessing of money.
America: The garbage stays in the house
For the same reason as in the Czech Republic, lentils are mainly eaten on New Year’s Eve in the south of the USA. In parts of Pennsylvania – where many used to settle – sauerkraut is one of the traditional dishes. Then there is the rule “Nothing Goes Out”, according to which nothing is allowed to leave the house on the first day of the year, including rubbish. If so, there is a risk of misfortune.
In Japan, the New Year celebrations have a high cultural value. The celebrations extend over several days and last from December 29th to January 3rd. Originally the Japanese New Year celebrations, called “Oshogatsu”, as well as the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Years celebrations followed the lunisolar calendar. Since 1873, however, the Gregorian calendar has been used as a basis, so the new year begins on January 1st.
The numerous customs of Oshogatsu include New Year’s gifts, New Year’s cleaning, and sending out New Year’s cards. A televised singing contest, in which the country’s most popular singers take part, and a visit to a temple on January 1st or 2nd are also part of the New Year’s traditions in Japan.
Please share your experience where you live and how you celebrate your New Year in the comments section.