New Year is a time to rejoice and each country follows different
and very interesting traditions in their own styles. Some may be weird. Yet,
some are cultural traditions brought down through generations. One of the first
country's to celebrate New Year are the island nations of Kiribati and Samoa.
Cultural Traditions and New Year Celebrations: Australia:
On New Year's Eve, the Australian cities have events
like parades, entertainment and music. New Year Eve balls are famous and have
various themes like - black-tie and formal wear, masquerade,
tropical or gangster and glamour. Many celebrate the New Year on urban
parklands, beaches and boat cruises. Others host special home parties and
barbecues. The Sydney Harbour is Australia's iconic landmark and a special
symbol of celebrating New Year's Eve.
believe in driving away evil with fireworks
holds that the one who launches the first fireworks in the New Year will find
good luck. They start with fireworks right after 12 pm of New Year's Eve.
The dinner on New Year's Eve is most important for the Chinese. It
is usually a family reunion and mostly fish is served. In Northern China,
dumplings are regarded as the most important dish. Both dishes signify
prosperity. After New Year's Eve dinner, the entire family stays awake the
whole night to welcome a new day and the New Year.
According to legends and tales, the Chinese believed in the
existence of a beast named "Year" which is afraid of loud sounds, red colour
and fire. Hence, they launched fireworks on the eve of New Year. The Chinese
homes are cleaned and decorated using red lanterns and the most widespread
decorations include year paint, paper cutting, door god and
many more. In Japan,
New Year is called Shōgatsu and includes
traditions from Buddhism, Shinto and popular culture. The Japanese decorate
their home doors with a New Year's wreath made from rice straw and lucky
talismans. Their New Year food tradition
that is made
from cooked rice or mochiko.
Year's End Party - Bonenkai is celebrated either
in a tatami mat room or a western style restaurant. Traditional Japanese foods
- red fish soup, soba, sashimi, fugu, tempura, fish eggs and rice are served.
Special New Year cards Nengyō
with Chinese zodiac animals of the New Year are sent over to friends. Gifts of
are given to children during the New Year's
calling. Usually about 5000 yen is given in a decorated envelope. Eating Toshikoshi
Soba is considered symbolic, as long noodles are a symbol of long life. United Kingdom
follows certain traditional practices on New Year's
Day. At the strike of midnight, the back door of each house is opened to let out the old year and the first
dark haired man is seen coming in through the front door carrying coal, salt
and bread. This is a symbol that the family will have enough food (bread),
money (salt) and warmth (coal) in the coming year. Scotland
celebrates the New Year - "Hogmanay" - better than
anywhere else. Edinburgh
hosts an enormous party from the Prince's Street to
the Royal Mile and the Edinburgh Castle. First Footing is observed in all the
residence and belief goes that the first person who sets foot influences
everyone's fortune. In Wales,
the people believe in clearing debts before the New Year
begins. Children wake up early, visit their neighbours and sing songs. They get
mince pies, apples, sweets and coins for singing.
New Year Traditions:
Some regions of the world have weird New Year traditions. They
include some strange New Year costumes as well.
In the Philippines,
it is believed that wearing polka dots and eating round fruits ensures a prosperous
year. People of Spain
believe that wolfing down a handful of grapes when the
clock strikes 12 promises a successful year. In Scotland
village men parade
swinging some blazing giant fireballs over their heads. In Panama,
celebrity and political personality effigies are burned on the bonfire. The
follow a tradition of jumping off chairs at midnight.
However weird traditions may be,
they all boil down to one point - to ward off the old and ring in the
A Cheerful and Magnificent New Year, 2015 to all our readers.