Ringing in the New Year: Traditional Celebrations Around the World

December 30, 2016 • lifestyle • Views: 3508

With Christmas festivities over for another year, talk in our office inevitably turned to the next big cause for celebration. Here at DYH we’re an international bunch, and so when we started asking each other how we’d be celebrating New Year’s Eve this year, we got a few surprising answers! Of course there’ll be fireworks and bubbles, but many of us also have plans for some interesting traditional celebrations we’ve brought with us from around the world.

When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, people the world over will be looking forward to the year to come, hoping for luck and love, or wishing to leave the bad spirits of this year behind. As we found out, there are lots of different ways to improve your chances for the year ahead – rituals involving food, underwear and broken crockery are just a few!


Colombia: A trip around the block

If you’re hoping for travel next year, you could take a leaf out of Colombia’s book and dig out your suitcase on New Year’s Eve. You don’t even have to pack – according to Colombian custom, just an empty suitcase wheeled once around the block should bring a year of travel and adventure.


Denmark: Broken dishes

Broken dishes never go to waste in Denmark. Instead, they are collected up throughout the year and saved especially for New Year’s celebrations. A big pile of broken crockery thrown against your front door by friends and relatives is a lucky sign and a good start to the year ahead. Danes also leave last year’s bad spirits behind by literally jumping forward into the next year from a chair.


Finland: Molten metal

Melting little metal horseshoes on New Year’s Eve predicts what the coming year has in store for Finns. The molten metal is instantly cooled in water or snow, and the solidified shape shows what’s on the way. If you celebrate in Finland, you should hope for a ring if you’re in the mood for a wedding, or if you haven’t got a suitcase handy to celebrate Colombian-style, you could also hope for a tin ship to travel.


Germany: Pfannkuchen

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Germany is a great excuse for a midnight feast. German revellers stock up on Berliner Pfannkuchen ready for twelve o’clock. Popular doughnut fillings include jam, custard, chocolate or – for a double celebration – champagne.


Italy: Red underwear

It’s the colour of your underwear that counts in Italy. For a lucky new year filled with love, Italians make sure red is the colour.


Spain: 12 grapes

Keeping up with the twelve chimes of the clock while eating twelve grapes ensures good luck for the year ahead in Spain and many Spanish-speaking countries. Avoiding bad luck is serious business; many people peel and deseed the grapes and practise beforehand to improve their chances. To celebrate Spanish-style, don’t forget the cava!


Switzerland: A drop of ice cream

Letting a drop of cream or ice cream drip onto the floor brings a lucky new year for the Swiss. We hope we’re allowed to eat the rest!


UK: Kissing and first-footing

Enjoying a midnight smooch is popular all over the UK, at least with couples. And so is joining hands and singing farewell to the past year with the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne. But it’s Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations which are perhaps the strongest New Year’s traditions in the UK. Scottish rituals include first-footing: the first person over a home’s threshold in the new year is preferably a man with dark hair to bring good luck, and he should bring whiskey. In Stonehaven burning fireballs symbolising the sun are thrown into the sea to purify the coming year.


Venezuela: Yellow underwear

Back to South America, and back to a certain colour of underwear. No New Year celebrations in Venezuela would be complete without wearing yellow underwear. The colour is thought to bring luck, money or preferably both for the year ahead.

Wherever – and however – you celebrate the passing of 2016, we all wish you a very happy, healthy and creative 2017!

Picture source: Pinterest.com

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