15 Traditions From Around the World You Might Want To Try!
It's been a prosperous and exciting time for everyone at UKEC and we hope this continues into 2016. From everyone here, we'd like to wish all our students, partners and friends, happy New Years!
1. START OFF THE NEW YEAR RIGHT
On the right foot that is. In Scotland and Greece, “first foot” is an old tradition – the first person who enters your home will either bring good or bad luck. Friends and relatives are good choices to enter first – always on their right foot and never empty-handed.
2. JUMP AROUND!
If you want to involve more people and more feet, simply do as the Danes do and “leap” into the year by jumping from a chair at midnight. In Brazil, people take jumping to the next level: On New Year’s Eve they go to the beach and jump over seven waves – while making seven wishes for the New Year.
3. A MOUTHFUL OF GRAPES
In Spain and many other Spanish-speaking countries, people start the New Year with a full mouth: Eating twelve grapes at midnight is believed to bring twelve months full of happiness and prosperity. You can’t just eat the grapes whenever you want, though: You need to eat them whenever the church bell strikes midnight – for each stroke of the clock, you eat one grape.
4. ZA ZDOROVJIE
In Russia, people take their New Year’s wishes very seriously and put in a lot of effort to make sure they come true: Russians make their wish, write it on a piece of paper and burn said paper. Then, they put the ashes into a glass of champagne and drink it. Cheers!
In some countries, if you’ve had a particularly bad year, you can write everything you would like to forget from the previous 12 months, and proceed to burn this. You can literally watch your past troubles burn! The symbolism behind this is that you have burnt your past issues and are ready to take on the New Year.
5. A YEAR OF TRAVEL
Here’s a New Year’s tradition for all travellers: In Colombia, people who want a year full of travel take their (empty) suitcase for a walk around the block at midnight.
6. MIND YOUR COLORS
There are a lot of traditions that involve clothes: In Brazil, for example, you wear white to ward off evil spirits. In China, you dress in red for good luck (in February though, that’s when they’ll celebrate New Year’s in 2016). Underwear seems to be an even more crucial part of New Year’s traditions all around the world, so definitely follow this underwear colour guide to get your outfit just right.
7. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
If you eat round foods, you should be good when it comes to prosperity. In Italy, the traditional dish eaten at midnight, cotechino and lenticchie (cotechino sausage and lentils), is said to bring all kinds of good fortune in the new year – after all, the lentils look like money.
That said, in many countries around the world including India, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and Chile, eating lentils signifies good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
8. MAKE IT ROUND
In the Philippines, focusing on round things goes beyond the table – round fruits are eaten and displayed, people give each other coins and wear polka dots.
9. LET LEAD TAKE THE LEAD
Some people use tea leaves to predict the future. In German-speaking Europe and some of the Nordic countries, things get a little more heated: There, people use lead and a bowl of water to predict what the New Year will bring. A small amount of lead is melted in a spoon and poured it into cold water – the shape of the lead nugget is then carefully interpreted to predict what the New Year will bring.
10. WEAR RED
In Latin America and countries such as Turkey and Italy, wearing red underwear is considered a sign that your year will begin (and hopefully continue) with love and passion! If you happen to be wearing yellow underwear, that means there’ll be money and happiness in your future.
11. SMASH YOUR PLATES
In Denmark, you would traditionally celebrate the New Year by throwing unused plates to the floor, or at your friend’s doorsteps. It’s a measure of popularity to find lots of broken pieces, and it’s believed to guarantee many friends in the New Year.
12. WAIT FOR THE SPLASH
In Puerto Rico, people fill pots and pans with water, and proceed to throw the water out of the front door once the clock strikes midnight.
13. RESPECT YOUR ELDERS
It is customary in Korea to go to the elders in your family (parents, grandparents etc.) and bow to them, both as a sign of respect but to bring them luck. In return, you’ll receive a nice bit of money!
14. PENNY FOR LUCK
In many countries around the world including Mexico and Greece, it is tradition to bake a round cake, with a penny inside. Whoever gets the penny in their slice is considered to have a prosperous (and possibly rich!) year ahead.
15. A GOOD SWEEP
In various Latin American countries, India, China, Greece and Scandinavia, many people are sure to clean their house from top to bottom, inside and out. This signifies cleanring away all the effects (bad, mostly) of the previous year, to start afresh.
Are there any traditions we've missed out? What do you do for your NY Tradition? Drop us an email and we'll feature your story in our next blog post - email@example.com
Some examples sourced from EF English Blog.