A typical New Year”s Eve in America usually involves some fireworks, popping champagne, and kissing your main squeeze at midnight. It is what we have been doing for numerous years and the tradition will probably live on this year as well. While that tradition doesn”t seem strange to us, the ways other countries celebrate the New Year can seem a bit odd. Let”s just say, they don”t partake in our traditions.
Single women in Ireland place sprigs of mistletoe under their pillows on New Years Eve in the hopes that it will bring them better luck and a future husband.
Serbia”s version of New Year”s is very similar to what most countries consider Christmas. Santa even visits them and leaves presents.
Traditions vary across China, but many celebrations include the Chinese people cleaning their homes to get rid of bad luck, buying presents for loved ones, and children receiving money in red paper envelopes.
People in Denmark prepare an evening meal ending with a special dessert known as Kransekage, a steep-sloped cone-shaped cake decorated with firecrackers and flags. Additionally, people in Denmark throw dishes at their neighbor”s doorstep to assure that they will have many friends in the year ahead.
The German people enjoy eating pigs made of marzipan on their New Year”s celebration. Seems like a pretty delicious tradition.
People burn effigies of their enemies at midnight. How awesome is that? Wouldn”t you like to burn things that represent your enemies and misfortunes? Yeah, I would too.
Estonians take part in a giant feast that ends at midnight. They keep eating until it is the New Year, and then leave the rest of the food for the spirits of their ancestors to feast on.
When the clock strikes midnight in Prague, a giant fireworks display can be seen from the famous Charles Bridge.
On New Years Eve in Japan, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times to welcome Toshigami, the New Years god.
A Finnish new year tradition is called molybdomancy, which is the act of telling New Years fortunes by melting tin (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove. The metal is then quickly thrown it into a bucket of cold water.
Greek people believe that if you hang an onion on your door for New Year”s, you will be reborn in the upcoming year.
Spaniards eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the midnight countdown while making a wish. The tradition dates back to 1895, when some savvy vine farmers realized they had a surplus of grapes and started the tradition to get more customers.
The Argentinian tradition of eating beans before the clock strikes midnight is thought to bring good luck to the eater”s career in the next year.
In Macedonia, New Years Eve is celebrated both on December 31st as well as on January 14 according to the Macedonian Orthodox (also known as the Julian or Lunar) Calendar.
Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and is also known as the Day of Judgment. This is when God inscribes the fate of every person for the upcoming year in the Book of Life or the Book of Death. Pretty ominous.
Realize that when we celebrate New Year”s this year, other countries will be looking at us strangely, just as these traditions seem odd to us. Maybe we should all try one of these this year.