Different Ways of Celebrating the New Year

As we saw in the last article that in different countries Christmas is celebrated differently, New Year’s is similarly celebrated differently in different countries.

In Germany, they say goodbye to the year with a toast in honor of St. Sylvester, and they receive the New Year with fireworks in order to ward off bad spirits. It’s customary to leave some dinner remains on one’s dish until after midnight to insure a well stocked pantry during the New Year.

In Austria, the Viennese receive the New Year with the typical waltz and the concert of Strauss played by the Vienna Philharmonic every January 1st.

In Denmark, they break dishes to welcome the New Year. The Danes show their affection for loved ones by tossing old plates before their houses. The number of good friends one has is proportional to the amount of broken plates before their door.

In Scotland, in some places they light a barrel on fire and roll it through the streets to receive the New Year. There also exists the tradition according to which the first person that enters one’s house in the new year determines the luck of the family, and in order to have good luck it should be a man of dark skin, and even more so if he is attractive.

In Spain, it is important to eat twelve grapes at the rhythm of twelve chimes that indicate the arrival of the New Year. The tradition says that who completes the operation without choking will be lucky all year.

In France, the French usually go out into the street, especially to the Champs-Élysées (for Parisians), to receive the New Year with a glass of champagne. Those who stay at home hug and kiss beneath mistletoe at midnight in order to have good luck during the New Year.

In England, the children usually get up early to go out into the streets and charm their neighbors with songs in exchange for coins or candy.

In Italy, the Italians say goodbye to the year with a dinner in which lentils are necessary in order to have good luck during the New Year. That night many women receive a gift of red lingerie that will bring them luck. In Rome and Naples, they also have the tradition of throwing old stuff out the window as a way of finishing with the past and beginning a new era.

What traditions are there in your country for celebrating the New Year?