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New Year’s Traditions

Kelly Garcia, Writer

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“New Years” is a holiday that is celebrated around the world. Since each country has their own customs and traditions, different countries celebrate the New Year in different ways.

In England, they believe that the New Year will bring fortune to their lives when certain traditions occur. The first person to walk into their home that year with certain gifts is supposed to bring them fortune and good luck. If the guest does not have the gifts, he is not allowed in the house. The guest should be a male who has gifts, such as bread for the kitchen, drink for the family, or coal for the fire.

People in Denmark throw dishes on their friends’ doors during New Year’s Eve, which symbolizes friendship and brotherhood. They collect old dishes throughout the year to break when it is the New Year. It is considered a compliment when dishes are thrown at your door. The more dishes on the outside of a house, the more friends the person has. The Danish also jump over chairs when the clock strikes at midnight.

In China, a completely different day marks the start of the New Year. The first day of the New Year is between Jan. 21 or Feb. 20 every year when the new moon occurs. For the New Year, the Chinese paint their front doors red to symbolize happiness and good fortune. On New Year’s Day, they put away all knives for the day, besides when they have their feast, so that no one gets hurt. They believe that if someone were to get hurt, the family will have bad luck all year.

In Brazil, people eat food items that have lentils in them for the New Year. They believe that lentils will bring wealth and prosperity. Also, there are female priests of  non-Christian religions who wear blue and white on New Year’s Eve during a ceremony for a water goddess in which a boat filled with jewelry, candles, and flowers is used as a sacrifice. They put the boat in the ocean and let it sail to bring health, prosperity, and happiness to all Brazilians.

Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries have a tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve at midnight. They eat 12 grapes in total, one every time the clock chimes, for 12 months of good luck.

Those in Austria, like many other countries, believe in eating certain foods for good luck in the New Year. They eat the Suckling pig during the main course, and then they eat peppermint ice cream for dessert. Both foods signify good luck and fortune in the upcoming year.

The Germans find that lead brings success. For the New Year, they melt it and pour it into cold water and wait until it takes a shape. The shape that the lead forms is a prediction of what will happen in the future. If a heart shape is formed, marriage is near, and if a round shape is formed, good luck will come that year. Another shape that symbolizes something is an anchor. If an anchor shape is formed, that individual should seek to get help. Lastly, if a cross is formed, it signifies death.

Belgians have a different name for New Year’s Eve. They call it Saint Sylvester Eve, and they throw family parties where everyone is affectionate and kisses one another in a friendly way. They also raise a toast to welcome the New Year, and children give the elders New Year gifts and letters.

Americans watch the ball drop at midnight on New Years. Some go to Times Square in New York City to celebrate the New Year and watch the ball drop in person. Times Square has been a place to celebrate the New Year in America for over a century. They used to light fireworks in Times Square until New York City banned them, which is when the ball drop became a tradition. The ball is a 700-pound iron and wood ball that is lowered on a pole at 11:59 PM until midnight strikes. Also, many Americans from the south eat black eyed peas for good luck. They believe that it brings prosperity to their lives.

Though there are many ways that different countries ring in the New Year around the world, they all have one thing in common: We all celebrate a new year and a new start for all of us.

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Saint John Vianney High School's News Site
New Year’s Traditions