New Year’s Eve traditions tend to vary across the globe, so while we are sipping champagne, kissing a loved one or banging on pots and pans when the clock strikes midnight, people in other places are doing different things. Whether you plan to be somewhere else this year or you just want to try something fun and different to ring in 2015, there are lots of possibilities. Each tradition has a meaning and makes it even more enjoyable to participate in. Here are some popular New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world. Enjoy!
If you’re from Hungary, the New Year’s Eve traditions include burning an effigy called Jack Straw. It’s traditionally made from straw and represents all the bad things that happened during the year. He is burned on New Year’s Eve to symbolize a fresh start, but is first carried through town. People from the town gather to watch Jack Straw burn and prepare to ring in a new and fresh year.
In Brazil, members of a local cult often dress in blue and white and hold a ceremony for the Goddess of Water, who is named Yemanja. They fill a boat with flowers and candles and push it out to sea as a sacrifice to the goddess, hoping she will bless their new year. Many people come to watch and participate in the ceremony as they celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.
In the Spanish culture, grapes symbolize wealth. As midnight nears, celebrators gather 12 grapes each. They eat one grape with each tolling of the clock as the New Year begins. Each grape they eat symbolizes good luck for one month of the year to come. The grapes are sometimes paired with wine, which of course, is made from grapes.
In some parts of Portugal, New Year’s Eve is spent with children regaling people with carols. The songs are old and are deemed good luck in the year to come. In exchange for their singing, people give the kids money and gifts that symbolize good luck and wealth. Sounds fun to me!
In Wales, it’s traditional for young boys to get up very early on New Year’s Day rather than celebrating at midnight. They go from house to house offering an evergreen twig, which they carry through each room of the house. This is believed to bring good luck. Once that’s finished, the kids sing songs and are given tasty treats and coins in return.
Germany has a fun tradition, but one that would take some preparation. It involves putting molten lead into cold water. Germans would then predict what the New Year would bring based on the shape of the lead. Some shapes indicated a new love while others predicted that it would be a year of plenty.
If you live in Austria, you can expect a huge party for New Year’s Eve. That means confetti, gunshots, trips to church and plenty of food. A traditional punch is made from wine with cinnamon and sugar. People hang wreaths on their doors and enjoy each other’s company. Sounds like a great place to spend the New Year, don’t you think?
How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? I have three kids so I usually don’t even make it to midnight. When I do, we have snacks, make lots of noise, then go to bed. Will you try any of these traditions this year?
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