Welcoming the New Year can be a (literal) blast, with all the amazing fireworks, feasts, and festivities awaiting eager celebrants. But not every household goes out of their way to buy sparklers, wine, and noisemakers. Instead, there are variety of ways different countries celebrate the ringing in of a fresh new year.
In Japanese culture, there are a variety of things people do in order to welcome a new year of possibilities and send off the last one. Buddhist temples in the country need to ring the bell 108 times, said to be the number of human desires and the cause of suffering, in order to purify the darkness of the past year. People also visit temples, hang hand-woven straw ropes for good luck, and take a bite of tasty rice cakes called mochi.
Feasts are a huge part of French New Years as they are said to bring prosperity to people. There is a special feast called the Reveillon de Saint-Sylvestre, which is planned out and enjoyed by people on the night when the brand new year comes. Champagne is often served to help start the fun and put people in a celebratory mood.
There is a special way Spanish people celebrate New Years in their country. When the clock strikes midnight, people must eat a grape at each of the 12 chimes of the clock. It is difficult despite how easy it sounds and people often practice eating the round fruits as quickly as they can. The people who manage to do it are said to be blessed with prosperity for the rest of the year.
When the locals chip or break their tableware, they don’t immediately throw it away. People save the breakable eating implements until New Year. Once the day rolls in, people will throw the plates, mugs and glasses onto the front doors of houses (carefully, of course). The more shards piled up on your front door, the more popular you are and will be for the coming year.
In the United Kingdom, a tradition for the New Year is to have a handsome, dark-haired man be the first person to visit the house (he must not be in the house prior to the prior to the midnight hour). He must carry bread, wine, coal, and salt with him, the coal thrown to the fire while the bread and wine are enjoyed by the people of the house. The special guest must enter from the front door and exit from the back to bring prosperity for the new year.
These are just some of the few unique and interesting practices people have during the New Year across the globe. These aren’t the only traditions out there, though, as there are a variety of countries out there with their own brand of celebrations. Maybe you can discover a tradition of your own.