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Posts tagged ‘New Years Day’

New Year’s Eve Traditions 5

ROME

Romans prepare for the New Year festival which is known as January Kalends by decorating their houses with lights and greenery. The festival lasts for three days, during this time they hold feasts and exchange gifts which were carefully chosen for their luck-bringing properties these include such things as sweets or honey to ensure sweetness and peace as well as Gold, Silver or money for prosperity. Lamps for a year filled with light.

SOUTH AFRICA

In South Africa they ring in the New Year with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired. For those in the Cape Province New Year’s Day and Second New Year’s Day are full of a carnival atmosphere as there are carnivals where people dress in colorful costumes and dance in streets to the sound of drums.

SPAIN

When the clock strikes midnight they eat 12 grapes one with every toll to bring good luck for the next 12 months of the New Year. Sometimes the grapes are washed down with wine. Theater productions and movies are interrupted to carry out this custom.

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SWAZILAND

In Swaziland the harvest festival is called Newala or “first fruits” ceremony and takes place at the end of the year.

It is a celebration of kingship, traditional has it that the king of Swaziland, the Ngwenyama or “Lion”, has powers that are mystical and is believed to embody the Swaziland prosperity and fertility, and therefore it is said that he must have many wives and father many children.

THAILAND

The Thai New Year festival is called Songkran and lasts for three days from 13 to 15 April according the Gregorian calendar.

The customs are many such as people throw water over one another, under the guise of that it will bring good rains in the coming year and all the Buddha statues or images are washed. They visit the monastery to pray and offer gifts of rice, fruit, sweets and other foods for the monks.

UNITED STATES

The kiss shared at the stroke of midnight in the United States is derived from masked balls that have been common throughout history. As tradition has it, the masks symbolize evil spirits from the old year and the kiss is the purification into the new year.

PAKISTAN

New Year in Pakistan is known as Nowrooz or New Day. This day begins in March and traditionally represents the rebirth of nature after the long winter. The New Year begins the instant the sun is no longer in the astrological sign of Pisces and enters Aries.

It is celebrated as a time of renewal. One of the customs of Nawrooz is the practice of burning piles of wood. The bonfires are a symbol to destroy any remaining evil from the previous year.

NORWAY

Norwegians make rice pudding at New Year’s and hide one whole almond within. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person whose serving holds the lucky almond.

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New Year’s Eve Traditions 4

GREECE

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.

HUNGARY

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.

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ISLAM

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.

KOREA

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.

JAPAN

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.

POLAND

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.

PORTUGAL

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

ENGLAND

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.

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GERMANY

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.

VIETNAM

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.

WALES

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.

HAITI

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.

SICILY

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.

SPAIN

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.

PERU

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.

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