Taking time to celebrate a new year is an important part of every culture. So, as we welcome a new beginning, let’s take a moment to truly appreciate all the diverse new year’s traditions around the world.
New Year’s Traditions Around the World
Listed below are some unique international New Year’s traditions
While millions of people following the Gregorian calendar will celebrate a new year in January. For example, the Chinese New Year, also known as “Spring Festival”, comes from the traditional Chinese (lunisolar) calendar and will be celebrated in mid-February. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which celebrates the birth of the world, is celebrated between September and October.
International feasts go beyond a glass of bubbly and tasty appetizers. Old-fashioned holiday specialties are what really warm the heart. In the Netherlands, a special donut-like dumpling called oliebolllen is served on New Year’s Eve. In Japan, toshikoshi soba or year-end soba is served on New Year’s Eve. And in Brazil, the first meal of the new year usually is lentil soup or lentils with rice. They’re said to bring wealth and prosperity.
To celebrate the new year you need the right music. At many Western celebrations, the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown may be followed by the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” In Central and South America (El Salvador and Venezuela) the song “Faltan Cinco par alas Doce” by Nestor Zavarce is commonly played after midnight.
Attending a party or gathering is a custom found in nearly all New Year celebrations. Some key aspects of these parties include fireworks, which can be found all over the world in places like Australia, South Africa, and the U.K. Live music is always popular, from the estimated 1 billion people who plan to watch the New York City ball drop to the annual Japanese New Year’s music show Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Every country has a unique New Year’s practice. For instance, in Mexico, on New Year’s Eve, some people eat grapes in order to make wishes for the New Year. In parts of the Philippines, it’s considered lucky to wear polka dots around New Years as the circles symbolize money. And in Scotland, some practice “first footing,” being the first person outside a friend’s door with a gift around New Year’s Day (like whiskey, coal, or shortbread).