Do you need more luck or good fortune for the new year? Around the globe, the New Year is welcomed with many varied traditions. Here are a few - which international custom will you adopt to welcome 2021?
In Spain, it’s customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of midnight. It’s believed that each grape represents a month of luck in the new year. People gather in city plazas to eat grapes and drink Cava (Spanish sparkling wine).
The Danes smash plates against doors as the new year begins; it’s believed that doing so banishes bad spirits for another year.
In Panama, muñecas (dolls) are burned during New Year’s Eve celebrations. The burning figures represent the past year and are meant to prevent evil spirits from appearing in the new year.
Onions symbolize rebirth in Greece and are hung on the door to symbolize the birth of a new year. Children are awakened on New Year’s Day by their parents tapping their heads with the onion!
Columbians carry empty suitcases around the block, with the hope that the new year will be filled with travel. Also, on the last night of the year, they place three potatoes—one peeled, one unpeeled, and one half peeled—under their beds. At midnight, they pull out the first potato they touch. Peeled means they’ll have financial problems, unpeeled indicates abundance, and half peeled means somewhere in between.
Hogmanay is the name of the new year celebration in Scotland. It’s traditional that the first person crossing the doorway of a home in the new year should bring a gift for luck. Some Scots light giant bonfires and parade around the fire carrying sticks lit at the end - to symbolize the sun and purification for the coming year.
Filipinos believe that round things symbolize coins and will bring wealth during the new year. Many wear polka dots on New Year’s Eve and display round fruits. As in Spain, 12 grapes are eaten at midnight.
In Finland, people throw molten metal into containers of water and then interpret the shape of the metal to predict the future year. Hearts or circles (ring shape) predict a marriage, a pig shape predicts plentiful food, while a ship-shape represents travel.
Brazilians wear a particular New Year’s underwear. Red is thought to bring love in the new year, while yellow is believed to bring wealth.
Soba noodles are eaten just before midnight in Japan because it is believed that eating it before midnight symbolizes crossing from one year to the next. Chewing the soft noodles is thought to signify letting go of any regrets from the old year and starting the new year fresh.
Italians believe that lentils symbolize luck and prosperity. They are frequently prepared with rich cuts of pork which represents the bounty of the land.
Why not give at least one of these a try? We could all use better luck than we had in 2020!