Materials for language lessons

Posts tagged ‘New Year Eve’

New Year’s Eve Traditions 4


January 1st is an important date in Greece because it is not only the first day of the New Year but it is also St. Basil’s Day. St Basil was one the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church.

He is remembered for his kindness and generosity to the poor. He is thought to have died on this date so this is how they honor him.

A special New Year’s bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child; the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.


In Hungary they burn effigies or a scapegoat known as “Jack Straw” which represented the evils and misfortunes of the past year to burn on New Year’s Eve. Jack Straw is carried around the village before being burnt.

images (5)


The Muslims have their own calendar which is based on the cycles of the moon. The calendar consists of twelve months but, only has 354 days unlike other calendars such as the Gregorian or Jewish calendar etc.

For this reason the Islamic New Year moves eleven days backwards through the seasons each year. Muharram is the first month of the Muslim year its first day is celebrated as New Year’s Day. The Islamic New Year throughout the world is held quietly, without the festive atmosphere of other New Year celebrations.


The first day of the lunar New Year is called Sol-nal. This is for families to renew ties and prepare for the new year. New Year’s Eve: People place straw scoopers, rakes or sieves on their doors and walls to protect their families from evil spirit sin the new year.

Everyone dresses in new clothes, the following morning, symbolizing a fresh beginning, and gathers at the home of the eldest male family member. Ancestral memorial rites are held, then the younger generation bows to elders in the family. They wish them good health and prosperity in the coming year.


The Japanese New Year Oshogatsu is an important time for family celebrations, when all the shops, factories and offices are closed. The Japanese decorate their homes in tribute to lucky gods.

One tradition, kadomatsu, consists of a pine branch symbolizing longevity, a bamboo stalk symbolizing prosperity, and a plum blossom showing nobility.


In Poland New Year’s Eve is known as St Sylvester’s Eve. This name according to legends arose from Pope Sylvester I who was supposed to have imprisoned a dragon called Leviathan who was supposedly able to escape on the first day of the year 1000, devour the land and the people, and was suppose to have set fire to the heavens.

On New Year’s Day, when the world did not come to an end, there was great rejoicing and from then on this day was called St Sylvester’s Eve.


The Portuguese 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 coming year. In Northern Portugal children go caroling from home to home and are given treats and coins. They sing old songs or Janeiro’s which is said to bring good luck.


New Year’s Eve Traditions 3


The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master.

For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

images (3)


In Germany people would drop molten lead into cold water and try to tell the future from the shape it made. A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig plenty of food in the year ahead.

People also would leave a bit of every food eaten on New Year’s Eve on their plate until after Midnight as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder. Carp was included as it was thought to bring wealth.


The more popular name for the Vietnamese New Year is Tet, where as the formal name is Nguyen-dan. Tet is a very important festival because it provides one of the few breaks in the agricultural year, as it falls between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the new crops.

The Vietnamese prepare well in advance for the New Year by cleaning their houses, polishing their copper and silverware and paying off all their debts.


At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is welcomed with all of its luck.


In Haiti, New Year’s Day is a sign of the year to come. Haitians wear new clothing and exchange gifts in the hope that it will bode well for the new year.


An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year’s Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.


In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.


The Peruvian New Year’s custom is a spin on the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at the turn of the year. But in Peru, a 13th grape must be eaten to assure good luck.

New Year’s Eve Traditions 1

I’ve found this article on, very interesting :).


Global Good Luck Traditions

With New Year’s upon us, here’s a look at some of the good luck rituals from around the world. They are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.


The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It’s served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consists of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.


The people of Mesopotamia celebrate the New Year festival known as Akitu in the springtime. At this time they celebrate the arrival of the spring rains and the renewal of nature, as well as the renewal of the community.

At the festival the story of the creation is read out to remind people of the order of the universe and how it had risen out of the struggle between Marduck the god of heaven and Tiamut goddess of the powers of chaos.


The Bahai people (Part of Iran) have their own calendar consisting of nineteen months of nineteen days plus a couple of extra days between the eighteenth and nineteenth months. They have however adopted the Iranian custom of beginning the New Year in the spring equinox.

The day begins at sunset rather than midnight, and the New Year celebrations are held during the evening of March 20th.


In Belgium New Year’s Eve is called Sint Sylvester Vooranvond or Saint Sylvester Eve. The réveillon or New Year’s Eve family parties are thrown. At midnight everyone kisses, exchanges good luck greetings, and drinks toasts to absent relatives and friends.

The cities, cafés, and restaurants are crowded with people who bid farewell to the Old Year. New Year’s Day is called Nieuwjaarsdag at this time of the year the children save money to buy decorated paper for writing holiday greetings to parents and god parents.


In Bengali they celebrate New Year on the 13th or 14th of April, which is the first day of the month that they call Baisakh. They clean and decorate their houses in preparation for the New Year.

They use flour to paint patterns on the ground out the front of their houses, in the middle of the design they place an earthenware pot, decorated with a red and white swastika which is a religious symbol, and filled with holy water and vermilion.

Also inside the pot they place a mango tree branch, which must consist of five twigs and a number of leaves. The pot symbolizes good fortune for the family.


In Brazil the lentil is believed to signify wealth, so on the first day of the New Year they serve lentil soup or lentils and rice. In Brazil on New Year’s Eve priestesses of the local macumba voodoo cult dress in blue skirts and white blouses for a ceremony dedicated to the goddess of water, Yemanja.

A sacrificial boat laden with flowers, candles and jewelery is pushed out to sea from Brazil’s famous Ipenama beach in Rio de Janeiro.

New Year’s Eve – Lucky Food

1, Eat greens!

As their colour reminds us of money, we eat them to bring more money in our lives.

2, Beans

They symbolize coins. Eat a lot of beans, peas, lentils on New Year’s Eve and you will have a lot of money in the new year.

3, Fish

Their scales symbolize coins, too.

4,Noodles and grains

They are the symbols of  a long life.

5, Pork

Pigs bring good luck, as well.


Tag Cloud