New Year is the most awaited and joyful celebration throughout the globe. Every country has its way of celebrating New Year. Each of them differs in its cuisines, decorations, and festivals. We, in the United States, usually celebrate New Year, watching the countdown on the television, champagne toasts, midnight kisses, and fireworks.
This is also one thing that helps us to explore the world. They have different traditions and practices for ensuring happiness, health, wealth, and luck in the coming New Year around the globe. On learning about other New Year celebrations worldwide, we discover many strange and surprising cultural twists.
Let’s look at some fascinating New Year traditions and learn how people will be ringing in the next year. We can also adopt some fun celebrations this year or in the coming years.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is extensive with many different traditions. It is the most important holiday in China and lasts for 15-days long. Instead of the Gregorian Calendar, they follow Lunar Calendar.
This means that New Year has a different date every year. Fireworks are set off as a means to keep off negative energy. The red color is symbolized as good luck and good fortune. Red lanterns are floated in the sky to keep off bad luck, and jianzhi, red paper cutouts are hung on the walls. All cities and homes are lined with red decorations.
Children are given money in red envelopes, which can transfer fortune from elder to youth. Parades are held, wherein the lion dance is performed, dragon statues are showcased, traditional food is available, and imperial performances are icing on the cake.
In Ecuador, effigies are burnt to signify burning the Año Viejo, or “old year.” Ecuadorians make giant effigies in the likeness of pop culture figures, politicians, and other icons and set them on fire when the clock strikes midnight.
It represents the washing of negative energy from the previous year, which symbolizes bringing good fortune. This tradition originated in 1895 when the yellow fever epidemic hit Guayaquil. It forced many to burn coffins packed with the infected person’s clothes.
The tradition has since taken on a more optimistic and light-hearted nature. The crowds of Ecuador take part in merrymaking during this festival.
The Festival of Saint Basil is celebrated as a Greek New Year celebration. They also have the practice of honoring the founder who belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. Every year, to bring prosperity and attract luck, many celebrations occur.
For example, as a symbol of rebirth, an onion is traditionally hung on the door of homes. Every New Year Day, children are woken up by getting an onion tapped on their head by their parents. Another practice of Greek tradition is eating Vasilopita or the Saint Basil’s cake.
In baking, they use silver or gold coins inside the cake, and whoever gets the coin in their slice is considered the luckiest person in the coming year.
In Switzerland, during the New Year celebration, they believe that dropping a dollop of ice cream on the floor when the clock strikes midnight will bring them good luck and wealth. They also run in the streets in colorful costumes and perform a few ceremonies which symbolize chasing away negative energy.
The Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated worldwide. This festival occurs in the Hebrew calendar’s seventh month. Rosh Hashanah starts with Kiddush over wine and a lit candle. On the second day of the festival, it is customary to place a new uneaten fruit before the one who is offering prayers (Kiddush).
To symbolize sweetness and bless the New Year, people in Israel enjoy apples, and other fruits dipped in honey. They play the shofar during the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. This ritualistic musical instrument is made of a ram’s horn or another animal. It is believed that humanity stands before God.
The Netherland traditions are a visual treat with mind-blowing explosions and fireworks. These explosions are described by many as “chaotic bursts of light.” This happens across major cities for hours together at a time.
People burn Christmas trees and cars to overcome the old and welcome the new. The Dutch traditionally eat oliebollen, translated to “oil balls.” Similar to donuts, they are dipped in sugar and sold in the street corners and shopping centers. Swimmers dive into the freezing waters of the North Sea to celebrate New Year as a final celebration.
No matter how you celebrate New Year, it is clear that people worldwide embrace and celebrate the passage of time differently. It’s one more thing that shows us how similar we are as a people, despite our differences.
All of us should cherish and revel in the various traditions that unite us this New Year’s. We appreciate our similarities in our way and want to share these moments with the people around us. When many things constantly divide us, these celebrations unite us.
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