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Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Eve Traditions from around the World

As it's New Years Eve today, I thought I would share some traditions from around the world to see how other Countries celebrate bringing in the new year.

In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend, the eve of Saint Sylvester (never heard of him!) and a punch made of cinnamon, sugar and red wine is prepared in his honour.  On New Year's Day, dinner is a special occasion when roast pork is eaten, as pigs symbolize good luck.  Often the table is decorated with little miniature pigs, made of marzipan.

Austria



In Brazil, as part of the celebrations there, crowds wearing white gather on the Brazilian beaches to offer gifts to the Goddess of the water, Yemanja, floating flowers and candles out to sea, in the hope she will bring them good luck.  As the lentil is believed to signify wealth, the locals then eat lentil soup or lentils and rice on the first day of the new year.
Brazil
In Denmark it is a good sign to find a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep on the 1st day of January (must try that then!!).  Old dishes are saved throughout the year to throw at the doors of friends and neighbours on New Year's Eve.  Many broken dishes mean that you have many friends.  So there you are - I wish you many broken dishes this New Year's Eve!
Denmark
In Germany it was the custom to predict the future on New Year's Eve by dropping molten lead into cold water to see what shape it made.  A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig meant plenty of food in the year ahead.  Well, I must remember to molt some lead this evening then!  It is also the custom to leave a little food on the plate until after midnight on New Year's Eve, as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder in the year ahead.
Germany
In Hungary, a scarecrow like effigy, stuffed with paper, and known as Jack Straw, is said to embody the evil and misfortune of the past year.  He is carried around the village, before being burnt on New Year's Eve.
Hungary
The Japanese hang a rope  across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck.  At midnight on the 31st December, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells exactly 108 times to drive out the sins of the previous year.
Japan
The Portugese pick and eat twelve grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve.  This is done to ensure twelve happy months in the year ahead.  In Northern Portugal, children go carolling from home to home and are given treats and coins.  They sing old songs, which are said to bring good luck.

Portugal
In Russia, when the Communist Party took power in 1917, they banned the open expression of religion and the celebration of Christmas.  In response, the people re-invented the New Year's Eve tradition to include a decorated tree, and introduced a character called Grandfather Frost, who looks very much like the western Santa Claus.  Today, Christmas is again celebrated, but New Year's Eve remains the bigger event, with feasting and the giving of gifts.
Russia
In Scotland, an old tradition that is still observed today, is that of the first footer.  The first person that sets foot in your home on New Year's Day decides the family's luck for the rest of the year.  The ideal guest brings a gift of bread or coal, to ensure there is no lack of food or warmth in the home for the rest of the year.

Scotland

In Taiwan, children who have left home return for dinner on New Year's Eve.  For those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit, if not in body.  To ensure the arrival of good health and good luck in the new year, floors may not be swept on New Year's Day, or the bins emptied, for the fear of casting riches out of the door.
Taiwan

I can still remember my dear mum saying that we should never wash clothes on New Year's Day, as, if we did, we would wash our friends away.  To this day, I make sure that the washing machine is never on on New Year's Day.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these traditions from around the world, and I shall raise a glass to all of you when the clock strikes twelve here in England this evening.

41 comments:

SkippyMom said...

These are fascinating Yart - we just eat yummy food and watch the ball drop at midnight. I know my best friend's Mom sews a pillow case every New Year' day symbolizing her hope of riches to fill it in the New Year. My Mom always had pork & sauerkraut on New Year's Day - she said it was to bring luck. She would always call me and ask if I had it cooking "Make sure you have a bite for luck Skippy!". She was a wee bit upset with me a few years ago when I stopped the tradition but I told her I didn't think it worked and we were going to see how lucky pot roast was instead. :D
Happy New Year to y'all This!

Odie Langley said...

That was interesting and fun to read. Amazing how different this day is celebrated. I do hope you have a wonderful new years eve and the best 2011 you could imagine.
Odie

Thisisme said...

SkippyMom - we don't have any traditions here in this house at New Year's Eve, I'm afraid. We've done all the going out bit with lots of people, but tonight it will be just the two of us, eating goodies and having a drink or two. Sounds boring to a lot of people I expect, but it will be lovely and relaxing, and I'm all for that these days!! LOL! Happy New Year to you and all your family, Skippy.

Thisisme said...

Odie - it is interesting how different countries have such different traditions at New Year, isn't it? I wish you and all your family a very happy, healthy and blessed New Year.

Becky said...

Oh, how I LOVED this post!!! I love reading about other countries and their customs!! I can't wait to share these with my girls! ~ My mother believed in the tradition of not washing clothes on New Years Day, as well. It came from my grandmother. I was just telling Miranda about this tradition yesterday!! How funny! ~ We don't really have any other traditions, either. We usually have a nice meal on New Years Day which includes Ham & veggies, but David and I are sneaking away to Atlanta to spend the night before going to the football game on Sunday! YAY!! ~ Tonight (New Years Eve), we'll be home with Miranda and Rory. We plan to watch movies and play games. Ashley is with our church youth group on a ski trip with LOTS of snow!! She's having a blast! ~~ Happy New Year to you my sweet friend!!

Thisisme said...

Becky - so glad you enjoyed reading the post! Wasn't that funny that you knew all about the not washing clothes tradition from your mum and grandma!! I really do wish you and your lovely family a very happy, healthy and blessed New Year - and enjoy THAT football game on Sunday. I can see that you are really excited about it!! Looking forward to continuing our friendship in 2011.

Gawgus things... said...

It's Sainte Sylvestre here in France as well. There's no link between 31/12 and him, it's just his feast day. The French kiss under the mistletoe at midnight (rather than at Christmas)and quite often exchange cards and gifts on New Year's Day. The end of the holiday season is Epiphany, on 6 January, which in France includes a traditional cake called la galette des rois (if you're interested, of course!)...

Thisisme said...

Gawgus things - That funny that Saint Sylvester appears in France as well! I always thought he was a cartoon character! LOL! Thank you for sharing the French traditions with us, and, yes, I would be very interested in that traditional cake! BONN ANEE! Je vous souhaite une bonne annee. Cheers!

colenic said...

That was a really fun post....it's always nice to see how people celebrate different holidays....
Growing up we went to a friend's house who did the pork and sauerkraut thing but also made black eyed peas because those were supposed to be good luck as well....we haven't really established any traditions for new years here because we are often away....but to be honest staying home snuggled up with my hubby sounds like a pretty good one!! Have an awesome New Year!!

Bouncin' Barb said...

What a fantastic and awesome post. Leave it to you to do something so unique. We too eat pork on New Years for good luck. Grandma would have a fit if we didn't. She also used to make us eat mince meat pie also. I just gag on that so it's one tradition I cannot do. Have a very Happy, Healthy and Wonderful New Year since that is what you are!! Hugs.

Thisisme said...

Col - staying home stays good to me too!! We'll be watching the fireworks over Big Ben (from the comfort of our sofa!) and the River Thames this evening. I haven't forgotten about the Honest Scrap Award. That will appear in a couple of days!!

Thisisme said...

Bouncin'Barb - It's funny that pork thing, because we certainly don't do that here in England (not that I'm aware of anyway). I send you and Bruce my warmest wishes for a healthy, happy and peaceful new year, and my one wish for you both is that things will be on the up for you in 2011. Big hugs!

Shady Del Knight said...

First of all, Thisisme, I love the festive ball drop animation on the right side of the page! Secondly, I congratulate you on a wonderful article loaded with new information. (Isn't this post rather long, though? I always keep mine nice and short! LOL) It strikes me how important a role luck and superstition play at New Year's in countries around the world. I honestly don't follow any tradition because I believe that you make next year's luck this year through hard work, education, preparedness, and by building quality relationships like ours. Happy new year, dear Thisisme!

vintch said...

You are such a brilliant and thoughtful blogger. I love the details of this post and, boy! how incredibly informative it was! All the traditions sound magical in their own special way. I think the one that I would enjoy the most would be Brazil's. Not just the ocean atmosphere of it all, but the lentil soup! Such a fun tradition! We will be having our own Southern tradition of eating collard greens (for good luck), black eyed peas (for money), and pork (for rooting forward) in 2011! HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear friend!

lyndylou said...

Great post girlie :) The Spanish do the same as the Portuguese and it is really hard to put 12 grapes in your mouth in time with each chime of the clock striking midnight, you look like a chipmunk after!!!

And you are so right about Scotland but the first footer has to be tall and dark also to be really really lucky.

Have a fab New Year's Eve and I wanna take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2011.

http://lyndylou-whocares.blogspot.com

Thisisme said...

Shady! I panicked at first when I started to read your comment "isn't this post rather long though..." and then I realized that you were joking. Phew!! I'm afraid that I don't follow any tradition either, but it was lovely to meet you this year, and I wish you a very healthy, happy and peaceful new year dear Shady (Tom).

Thisisme said...

Vintch - thank you so much. You made me smile about the lentil soup!! I hope that you and Robert enjoy your Southern fayre! Sounds wonderful! I hope that you, Robert and Pablo and wonderful New Year.

Thisisme said...

lindylou - I had forgotten about the tall and dark requirement for Scotland! It would be a bit of a squash to get all those grapes in so quickly, wouldn't it?! Wishing you all the very best for 2011. Let's hope it will be a good one for all of us.

becca said...

how interesting i never knew this about these other countries i really loved this because i love learning about other countrie and traditions thank you

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

This is SO cool!!! I loved reading about all the traditions. Much love!

Drake Sigar said...

Grandfather Frost looks like he's trying to shoot lasers from his eyes.

Thisisme said...

Becca - so glad you liked the post!! Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

Thisisme said...

Tanya - thank you for your comment. Sending hugs right back and happy new year., Cheers!

Thisisme said...

Drake - thank you for popping by! Your comment did make me smile. LOL!! Happy new year to you.

Belle said...

I loved this post. I am going to read out all these traditions to my family tonight as we stay up for midnight. I know my granddaughters will love hearing it. Maybe I will ask them to pick one, or we could make up our own new tradition.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Happy New year and thank you for finding my blog and leaving such lovely comments.

I think I will go for the "plate breaking " :-) :-) Some excuse ha ha

Now funnily enough I remember my mum saying never wash on New Years Day too. So my washing is going to have to wait.

Take care and see you again soon.

Thisisme said...

Belle, how lovely that you are going to read out those traditions to your family as the new year approaches. Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Thisisme said...

Anne - Happy New Year to you and all your family. I hope that 2011 will bring many new travels for you!!

Hilary @ Sweet as June said...

i really enjoyed reading these! happiness in the new year!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

great post! i loved reading about the traditions. we don't have any that we participate in, either. lol - we're pretty boring people; always in bed before the clock chimes.

Thisisme said...

Hilary - glad you enjoyed them! Warmest wishes for the new year.

Thisisme said...

Teresa - not boring at all!!! I will manage to stay up to watch the fireworks on the tv and then head off to bed. I really do hope that 2011 will be much less stressful for you and that things will work out. Take care.

Kelly~ Wave of Life Surf Studio said...

Fun read~ although I am not sure I would like to have to clean up broken dishes on New Years Day!! Happy New Years to you and yours :)

Kelly~ Wave of Life Surf Studio said...

BTW, Teresa, don't feel bad! I will be in bed looong before the ball drops in Times Square. I need to get as much sleep as I can since my little ones like to get up at 5:30 :)

Thisisme said...

Kelly - I was like you when my daughters were getting up very early - I used to be in bed long before midnight! Hope you have a wonderful 2011.

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog!! I love reading your comments! Have a blessed New Year!

Thisisme said...

Let'sMakeADifference - thank YOU! I really enjoy reading your Blog, and look forward to following you in 2011. Happy New Year!

Sandra said...

That's it, I'm moving to Brazil...it's warm and I like their tradition since it involves the beach!
What a terrific post idea sweet lady!
Have a very happy new year!

Thisisme said...

Sandra - I'm right on that beach with you, and I can feel the warm sunshine on me already!! :)

Susan said...

This was great! I had to come back-couldn't finish reading it the other day. Everyone has traditions, don't they? I especially like the flowers and candles floating in the waters in Brazil. You found the best pictures for your story. I loved it!

Thisisme said...

Susan - thank you so much for your sweet comment. Glad you enjoyed the post!