The New Year Around the World

Since this is a travel blog, amongst other things, I thought it might be fun to write an entry on New Year’s traditions around the world.
In the United States, we have some wonderful traditions. One of the big ones is watching the ball drop from New York Times Square. In other smaller communities there are often fireworks displays as well. Many choose to 'ring in' the New Year with a champagne toast at midnight. (When we lived in Kansas - Central Time - we usually wrapped up our celebration at 11 PM once the ball dropped in NYC!)
Heading south to where it is summer this time of year, many Brazilians celebrate the New Year at the beach. One of their traditions is to jump seven waves while making seven wishes for the coming year.

Many celebrations around the world center around food. In Mexico, giving the gift of homemade tamales at New Year’s Eve is a delicious special tradition. In Spain the practice is to eat 12 grapes, which symbolizes the strike of the clock at midnight to end the year. If you are able to eat all 12 grapes before the final stroke of midnight your chances of a prosperous new year are quite high. 

In France, many celebrate with fine food and drink. In addition to the champagne toast to bring in the New Year, a fine meal - which may include oysters, turkey, cornish hen, or goose - is often a part of the celebration. One of the traditions for New Year’s Eve in the Philippines, is to serve 12 types of round fruit. It is believed to represent prosperity as the round fruits symbolize coins. As for the lucky number 12, each fruit represents one month of the year.

An interesting tradition I discovered is that in India they make an effigy of an old man that symbolizes the old year. At midnight they burn the old man (the old year). The tradition of burning an effigy is also something they do in Panama to ward off evil spirits and start a fresh new year. 
In Latin America, Colombia has a neat tradition on New Year’s eve. Each person places three potatoes under their bed. One potato is peeled, one is not, and the other one is partially peeled. At midnight each person grabs for one with their eyes closed, and depending on which potato they select, they can either expect a year of good fortune, financial struggle, or a mix of both! (I don't know about you, but I'd try to feel around for that potato of good fortune!)

Residents of Denmark greet the New Year by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits. They also stand on chairs and jump off of them together at midnight to 'leap' into January in hopes of good luck. In Greece an onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of rebirth in the New Year. On New Year’s Day, parents wake their children by tapping them on the head with the onion. Interesting! 

There are so many traditions and foods around the world that help family and friends bring in a New Year full of hope and joy. To all our readers, we wish you a journey filled with happiness and adventure in 2023!
(All above images from Pexels, used by permission.)


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