Just as the parties from Christmas begin to dwindle, preparations begin for the celebration of the New Year. It’s a time when even the least-likely party people indulge in a night of drinking, singing, dancing and overeating.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite traditions of New Year’s Eve from around the world.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary in Spain to quickly eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each grape supposedly signifies good luck for one month of the coming year.
In Finland, it’s a longtime tradition to predict the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water, and then interpreting the shape the metal takes after hardening. A heart or ring shape means a wedding in the New Year; a ship forecasts travel; and a pig shape signifies plenty of food.
During the New Year’s Eve celebration first-footing is practiced all over Scotland. The custom dictates that the first person to cross the threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck (whiskey is the most common).
Round shapes (representing coins) are thought to symbolize prosperity for the coming year in the Philippines; many Filipino families display heaps of round fruits on the dining table for New Year’s Eve.
Every New Year’s Eve since 1951, a wildly popular TV music show is broadcast in Japan (and on cable in other parts of the world). Called “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (which translates to English as “Red and White Song Battle”), the show pits two teams of celebrity music stars against one another in a series of dramatic individual sing-offs; both judges and the home audience vote to decide whether the white team (made up of men) or the red team (women) wins.
Many Danes ring in the New Year by standing on chairs and then jumping off them together at midnight. Leaping into January is supposed to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.
In Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, it’s considered lucky to wear special underwear on New Year’s Eve; in cities like Sao Paulo and La Paz, market vendors start displaying brightly colored underpants a few days before the holiday. However you celebrate New Year’s Eve, here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!!
We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!!