December 30, 2010

Here's a look at some interesting New Year's Eve customs and traditions around the world. Let's celebrate – a new year is practically here.

In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend, Eve of Saint Sylvester. It’s a tradition to make spiced punch made of cinnamon, sugar, and red wine in honour of the saint. Also, the suckling pig is a symbol of good luck. By firing of morters called böller, evil spirits are chased away. New Year’s is greeted with festive decorations (evergreen wreaths), champagne, and fireworks. People usually attend the midnight mass where trumpets can be heard blowing from the church towers during midnight kisses.

Jour Des Étrennes. The French New Year is celebrated with a special feast called le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. Presents and kisses are exchanged. January 6 is the end of holidays. A special cake la galette des rois is cut. The cake contains a fève, a small china character. Whoever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown. And they get to choose a partner.

The New Year’s Eve in the Phillipines is usually celebrated with family and friends. Traditionally, most households have a dinner party called Media Noche with dishes such as pancit, Hamo, and Lechón (roasted pig), which is usually the centerpiece of the dinner table. Filipinos have a habit of wearing colorful clothing to show excitement for the coming year and often wear clothes with circular patterns like polka dots, for example. It is believed that circles attract money and fortune. Circular-shaped fruit is also served. Their other traditions include throwing coins on midnight or shaking them inside a metal casserole while walking around the house to increase wealth in the new year.

When the clock strikes twelve On Silvester, German New Year’s Eve and feast day of St. Sylvester, people toast to the new year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne.
One of German's old New Year`s Eve practices is Bleigießen (Lead Pouring). People would tell fortunes by the shapes made by dropping molten lead into cold water. A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ball meant luck will roll your way, a ship symbolized a journey. Dinner for One, 14-minute British stage sketch, is an annual German custom that is often watched on NYE. Outside, an explosion of lights can be seen in the sky.

Ecuador sees unique traditions on New Year’s Eve. To represent people and events of the past year, effigies called Años Viejos (Old Years) are created. They often represent leaders or political characters that its creators disagree with. The dummies are made of newspaper, old clothes, straw, and papier-mâché masks. Also, they are often filled with fire crackers. At midnight the effigies are lit on fire: it`s the burning away of the past year and welcoming of the New Year.
Another tradition is a ritual performed for health, prosperity, and protection. For example, each person eats twelve grapes before midnight. A wish per grape.

In Singapore, people can join in on the New Year’s Eve festivities from atop the world's tallest Ferris wheel: The Singapore Flyer. It is facing in the Marina Bay direction, main focal point of all Singapore NYE celebrations, and overlooking the waterfront.

On the last day of the year in Russia, Grandfather Frost, wearing blue instead of Santa's red, comes bearing gifts for the children.

England`s Clock Tower (Big Ben) at the Palace of Westminster chimes thirteen times when the clock's hands strike twelve on New Year`s Eve. It`s only then that the new year officially begins.The British believe the first visitor of each year should be male and should be the one to bring the gifts.
Traditional British gifts are a loaf for the table, a drink for the master, and coal for the fire. For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Unwanted or empty-handed guests are not allowed to enter first.

Traditionally, on Japanese new year Oshogatsu, people clean and decorate their homes and prepare Kadomatsu and/or Shimenawa to welcome lucky gods before New Year's Eve. It’s preparation day to welcome toshigami (年神), new year's god.

Pakistan celebrates New Year’s Eve on the every first of Muharram (First Islamic Month). It is a religious occasion and is celebrated with Muslims offering special prayers.

For New Year’s Eve in Mexico, people eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the New Year countdown, making a wish with each one. Homes and parties are decorated with colours red for love and lifestyle, yellow for better employment, green to improve financial situation, and white to improve health. Mexican sweet bread is often served, with a coin or a charm hidden inside. When served, whoever gets the slice with the object in it is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. Another tradition is to make a list of all unhappy events from the current year and throw it into fire before midnight. Negative energy is believed to die with it.. At the same time, the good things are acknowledged and thanks is expressed for all the good that has happened to make sure that it continues on in the new year.

New Zealand welcomes the new year with the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere called the Sky Tower. Auckland's sky lights up with fireworks from the top.

Do you have a New Year's Eve tradition? Tell us about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment