Sunday | December 31, 2017

NYE Traditions Around the Globe

NYE Traditions Around the Globe
Saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new one is celebrated around the world. But it’s not all pyrotechnical displays and partying. Some countries have more offbeat ways to ring in the New Year. Here is our guide to some unique and different New Year’s Eve traditions from other countries.

Hogmanay in Edinburgh
New Year's Eve is celebrated over three days in Scotland, and it’s called Hogmanay there. In Edinburgh the celebrations start on the 30th December with a fire parade with drummers and bagpipers marching towards Calton Hill, before having a wild, pagan themed party. On the 31st there are large public gatherings across Scotland, or people hold parties at home. Just before midnight people ‘first foot’ their neighbours, which means visiting them for a drink of whisky. It’s seen as very lucky to be visited by a dark haired man carrying a lump of coal. On January 1st families’ gather to eat and drink together, and everyone has the 2nd off to recover from the festivities.

Smashing Plates in Denmark
In Denmark people celebrate the New Year by smashing old plates and glasses of the front doors of friends and neighbours. If you have a lot of fragments on your doorstep the following morning it is seen as a sign that you are very popular.

Spanish Grape Eating
In Spain, people eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve, one for each stroke of the clock. If you manage to eat them all then the next year is meant to be prosperous for you. But don’t think that this grape eating is always sedate as large groups of people can wander the cities carrying grapes and drinks having a party.

Jumping Seven Waves in Brasil
In Brazilian coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro its seen as lucky to jump seven waves on New Year’s Eve. It is even luckier if you wear white for peace and throw flowers into the ocean as an offering to the sea goddess.

Ringing Bells 108 Times in Japan
On New Year’s Eve in Japan, or Omisoka as it is called there, Buddhist temples traditionally ring their bells 108 times. This is apparently the number of human desires, so ringing the bells gets rid of negative thoughts and feelings associated with these desires.

Feasting Seven, Nine, or 12 Times in Estonia
In Estonia people have a tradition of feasting many times on New Year’s Eve. It has to be 7, 9 or 12 times to be truly lucky, and it is meant to give you strength. So if you eat 12 times, then you will have the strength of 12 men or women. It is also customary to leave some food on your plate to appease your ancestors.

This festival in the Bahamas stems from the days of slavery, when slaves were allowed to celebrate New Year together. The people have noisy parades where they blow whistles, bang drums and dance in the streets while wearing elaborate colourful costumes.


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